Armstrong Volleyball Cracks AVCA Top 25 Poll At No. 23
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Buoyed by its' perfect 8-0 start to the 2011 season, the Armstrong Atlantic State University volleyball squad has cracked the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II Top 25 poll, entering at No. 23 with Monday's release of the rankings.
The Pirates are ranked nationally for the first time since 2005, when Armstrong was No. 21 in the preseason Top 25 poll to begin that year. This year, the Pirates have put together consecutive 4-0 weekends, finishing undefeated at the Pirate Volleyball Classic and the USC Aiken Pacer Invitational. The start for Armstrong is its best since 2004, when the Pirates went 10-0 en route to an NCAA Championships appearance.
For Armstrong head coach Will Condon, who is currently in his fourth season as the Pirates' head coach and 12th overall season as a collegiate head coach, this is the first time one of his teams has earned a national ranking.
"It is an honor to be recognized," Condon said. "But now comes the hard part. We definitely will not be sneaking up on anyone. It does not change the fact that we need to keep working hard to get better, but our players should be proud that their hard work is being noted."
In this week's national poll, Armstrong received 96 votes, one of three teams to join the rankings this week. North Alabama also moved into the rankings at No. 21 - sporting a 7-0 record, the Lions will meet the Pirates this Friday in the 2011 Pirate South/Southeast Challenge at 7:00 p.m. in Savannah.
Also in the field for the Challenge will be No. 24-ranked Rollins; the two teams will meet on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Concordia-St. Paul maintains the top spot in the poll, followed by Tampa, Cal State San Bernardino, Washburn and Nebraska-Kearney. Fellow Southeast Region school Wingate checks in at No. 19. You can view the complete poll from the AVCA's web site here.
Armstrong is the only Peach Belt Conference school to appear in the rankings this week, and the Pirates are the first PBC school to make the poll since Flagler was ranked No. 22 in the Sept. 6, 2010 poll.
The Pirates will put their new national ranking to the test on Tuesday, visiting Queens University of Charlotte for a 6:30 p.m. matchup in Charlotte, N.C., in advance of this weekend's South/Southeast Challenge.