League favorite

(From left) Micah Dinwiddie, Madison Daigle, Amy Pflughaupt and Megan Porter are four major reasons why the Lady Bobcats have been picked to win the Sun Belt Conference this season.

NEW ORLEANS — The Texas State volleyball team was picked first in the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the league announced Monday morning.

The Bobcats sat atop the conference table with 70 points and 10 of 12 first-place votes. The designation marked the first time Texas State earned the most votes in the preseason poll since joining the Sun Belt. 

Arkansas State was second in the West Division with 58 points and one first-place vote, while Louisiana was picked third with 51 points and the final first-place tally. UTA (32 points), Little Rock (27 points) and ULM (14) rounded out the division.

Coastal Carolina, the two-time defending league tournament champions, was projected as the favorites in the Sun Belt East Division with 67 points and eight first-place votes. 

South Alabama was picked second with 63 points and the remaining four first-place votes, while Appalachian State nestled into third at 44 points. Troy (37 points), Georgia State (22 points) and Georgia Southern (19 points) comprised the bottom half of the East Division.

The upcoming campaign will be the third that the Sun Belt will utilize a divisional format. 

The Bobcats were picked second in the West in the first two iterations of the preseason poll.

The preseason All-Sun Belt team was also announced Monday. 

Junior Micah Dinwiddie, the reigning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year, was voted as the 2018 Sun Belt Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. 

She was joined on the All-Sun Belt team by seniors Madison Daigle, Megan Porter and Amy Pflughaupt. 

No other team in the league had more than two selections on the 12-player squad.

The four preseason selections were the most garnered by Texas State since becoming league members in 2013. 

Dinwiddie is the first Bobcat to be named Sun Belt Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. This is also the second-straight year a Texas State player earned a preseason specialty award (Erin Hoppe, Setter of the Year).

Texas State finished 25-10 last season and won the West Division with a 14-2 record. The maroon and gold competed in the 2017 National Invitational Volleyball Championship and earned the first postseason victory in school history.

Texas State will open its 2018 campaign in Waco, Texas, at the Baylor Invitational. The Bobcats will face Marquette on Aug. 24 before meeting host Baylor and LSU on Aug. 25. The home portion of the schedule is slated to begin Aug. 30-Sept. 1 with the annual Creeds & Crests Classic. Patrons will be treated to matches featuring UTSA, James Madison, Incarnate Word and Abilene Christian.

All season tickets are general admission and are on sale now for $40. Special groups such as Bobcat Club donors, Texas State faculty and staff, recent alumni (2014-18) and T-Association members can receive a special discounted rate of $30 per season ticket.

Fans can renew their seats by logging into their online account at txstatebobcats.com/tickets, calling the Athletic Ticket Office at 512-245-2272, or by visiting the Athletic Ticket Office at Bobcat Stadium during normal business hours (M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).

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