WKU volleyball tabbed as preseason Sun Belt East No. 1

Ashley Potts/WKUsports.com

Elliott Pratt

WKU is atop the East Division as the new Sun Belt Conference Preseason poll was announced Thursday morning. 

The Lady Toppers received 63 points and eight first-place votes from the 11 conference coaches after last year’s 31-4 (15-1 Sun Belt) record and NCAA Tournament trip.

North Texas earned the top preseason spot in the West Division.  

Senior outside-hitter Jordyn Skinner, junior setter Melanie Stutsman and junior defensive-specialist Ashley Potts were added to the preseason all-conference squad.

This marks the second consecutive year that Skinner and Stutsman have been named to the preseason team and the first such honor for Potts.

Skinner was selected as the preseason Sun Belt Player of the Year, while Potts earned the preseason Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year honor.

Skinner, who will defend her 2011 Sun Belt Player of the Year honor, placed second in the league last year in kills (454), digs (407) and service aces (37). 

The Grand Rapids, Mich., native also marked 21 double-doubles last season and played 30 matches with double-digit kills and 24 with double-digit digs.

Potts earned the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year along with Second-Team All-Sun Belt honors. 

She led the Lady Toppers and the Sun Belt in digs with 511, which also ranks as seventh most in WKU regular season history. 

Potts was awarded Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week honors twice in 2011.

Stutsman ranked ninth in the nation last year with a .272 hitting percentage. 

She also racked up 1,324 assists, averaging 11.13 per set, leading the league and good for 30th in the country. 

Finishing second to WKU in the East is Middle Tennessee, which earned 56 points and two first place votes followed by Florida International (1), South Alabama, Troy, and Florida Atlantic.