NEW ULM - The Martin Luther College volleyball team was picked to finish fourth in the UMAC in the conference preseason poll released Thursday afternoon.
The Knights must replace several First Team All-UMAC performers on the attack, but return several players with significant experience, led by 2013 First Team All-UMAC selection Miranda Maasz at setter. Maasz finished last season with 10.14 assists per set, 37 aces, 2.36 digs per set, and 0.35 blocks per set on the way to three UMAC Setter of the Week awards.
Maasz also became just the second player in program history with at least 3,000 career assists. Senior Kayla Schoeneck returns after averaging 2.06 kills per set last season, while Sara Willems and Morgan Kumbier return with experience on the right side and in the middle, respectively. The Knights are also hoping for some impact from several potential newcomers to the program up front.
MacCartney Mendolla returns to help lead a back row that will feature a new libero this season. Sophomore Emily Neeb saw some action last season and could see time at libero this season, while several newcomers could also compete for playing time during the season.
Northwestern was picked as the preseason favorite, finishing first in the poll with 46 total points and four first place votes. Minnesota Morris was second with 44 points and three first place votes, while St. Scholastica finished third with 38 points and one first place vote. The Knights received 32 total points in the poll.