Mesa VB team picked to finish third in RMAC West
All but one player returns this season, last year’s projected starting setter is back from a seasonending Achilles injury, and a handful of freshmen antsy to play has RMAC volleyball coaches figuring Colorado Mesa will finish better than last year’s sub-.500 record.
The Mavericks, who opened practice Monday, are picked third in the West Division of the RMAC in the annual coaches poll and eighth overall, just enough to get into the conference tournament.
Gone is perennial power Nebraska- Kearney, which is picked to finish third in its new conference, the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
Metro State takes over as the team to beat in the RMAC, but only by a slim margin over East Division rival Colorado School of Mines and the Orediggers’ two preseason players of the year. Senior outside hitter Jackie Stabell was a third-team All-American selection by the American Volleyball Coaches Association and is the preseason offensive player of the year. Junior defensive specialist/ libero Hannah Margheim is the preseason defensive player of the year.
Gabriella Rifilato, a junior at Adams State, was chosen the preseason setter of the year.
No Maverick player made the preseason all-conference team.
Colorado Mesa lost only middle hitter Antoinette McCormick to graduation. Krista Ubersox, who returned last season after a four-year hiatus to complete her final year of eligibility, ruptured an Achilles tendon in the second match of the season.
That thrust Jordyn Moody into the starting setter’s role. Now a sophomore, Moody has a full year of experience, giving the Mavericks two veteran setters.
They also return senior libero Megan Rush, outside hitters Haleigh Higgins and Rebecca Sellers, opposite-side hitter Kelly Regimbal and middles Rachael Beaty and Melissa Hess.
Colorado Mesa missed the RMAC tournament last season for the first time in Dave Fleming’s career, needing to win its final match of the season to get into the final eight.
Adams State is favored to win the West Division, followed by Western New Mexico, Colorado Mesa and CSU-Pueblo.