Lady Vol volleyball picked to win SEC

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Tennessee volleyball team has been selected to win the 2010 Southeastern Conference volleyball title in a preseason vote by the league's 11 coaches.

This marks the first time since 1994 that a team other than Florida has been voted to capture the title, snapping at least a 16-year run at the honors by the Gators.

The Lady Vols received nine of the 11 first-place votes for the league champion. The other two tallies both went to the Gators.

The honor comes just a day after the Big Orange earned its first preseason national ranking since 2006, coming in at No. 19 in the initial American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. UT is coming off a 2009 campaign in which it reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament after compiling a 24-8 record, including a program-best 16 SEC victories.

Tennessee received 11 points to win the Eastern Division, followed by Florida with 21 points and Kentucky with 25. Georgia and South Carolina are picked to finish fourth and fifth in the division respectively. The Gators did receive two first-place votes for overall champion.

The defending SEC Champion LSU Tigers are predicted to win the Western Division for the third consecutive season with 13 first-place votes. The Tigers posted an 18-2 league record and a 25-7 overall record.

The Auburn Tigers have been selected to finish second with 19 points, and the Arkansas Razorbacks are predicted to place third with 25 points. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are picked to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, while the Alabama Crimson Tide rounds out the poll in sixth-place.

Points were compiled on a 1-2-3-4-5-6 basis for the Western Division and 1-2-3-4-5 for the Eastern Division. Each coach is not allowed to vote for his or her own team and each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.

The Big Orange will kick off its 2010 schedule August 27-28, when it hosts the eighth annual Comcast Lady Vol Classic. The Lady Vols will welcome Xavier, Chattanooga and Virginia Tech to the friendly confines of Thompson-Boling Arena for the two-day competition.

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