MARION, Ind. -- Indiana Wesleyan University volleyball cracked the top-10 for the first time in program history as the Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Preseason Top-25 Poll was released. IWU was ranked No. 9.
The record ranking comes on the heels of a historic 2011 season which featured the previous high mark in the poll at No. 13. Indiana Wesleyan finished 36-6 last season, won the Mid-Central College Conference Tournament championship, hosted its first NAIA National Championship Opening Round match, and advanced to, and won its first match at the NAIA National Championship.
The Wildcats earned 457 points in the poll and is the first of two Crossroads League members in the ranking. Taylor (Ind.) University is 11th with 417 points.
Last year's national champion Texas at Brownsville is ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll with 20 of 22 first place votes and 621 points. Concordia (Calif.) University is second with the final two first place votes and 603 points while Lee (Tenn.) University is third at 569 points.
Although Indiana Wesleyan lost four key contributors from last year's team due to graduation, IWU returns a strong nucleus plus a strong freshman class. Among the returning players is senior setter Yui Iwase. She was named NAIA All-American Second Team last season and was the MCC Setter of the Year.
Indiana Wesleyan will jump right into stiff competition as the team opens the season next weekend at the Lee Invitational in Cleveland, Tennessee. On the first day of the tournament Indiana Wesleyan will play host and No. 3-ranked Lee while on the second day IWU battles No. 20-ranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) College.