Carly Thomas, Kaitlin Jaeger named preseason all-conference
St. LOUIS — In what looks to be a competitive and high-level Missouri Valley Conference volleyball race this season, Missouri State has been picked to finish third by the league’s coaches in the preseason poll released Wednesday (Aug. 21). Senior setter Carly Thomas and junior middle blocker Kaitlin Jaeger represent the Bears on the six-player all-conference team.
The Bears totaled 83 points in the poll, including a pair of first-place votes, trailing UNI by a single point for second. Wichita State garnered the remaining eight No. 1 votes and 98 points as the preseason favorite.
Illinois State (67), Southern Illinois (60) and league newcomer Loyola (44) round out the six teams expected to make the league tournament held in Wichita, Kan., Nov. 28-30.
Thomas sets her sights on a third first-team all-MVC selection this year after ranking third in the MVC and 34th nationally with 11.12 assists per set while averaging 1.31 kills, 2.94 digs and 0.37 blocks per set on .237 hitting as a junior. The Swansea, Ill., native enters her senior year second in Missouri State history with 3,398 career assists to go with four career triple-doubles, five MVC Player of the Week awards and one CVU.com National Player of the Week honor.
Jaeger ranked fourth in the MVC as a sophomore with a .322 hitting percentage, bumping that number to third in conference matches at .338 on the way to a second-team all-league nod. The Webb City, Mo., product had 216 kills and 73 blocks last season despite missing several matches with an injury, and averaged 2.43 kills and 0.82 blocks per set. She posted two matches with at least 13 kills and no errors, including a 14-0-18 performance for a .778 attack efficiency against New Orleans.
Missouri State fields an experienced roster in 2013 that includes seven seniors and four juniors, and returns all but two players from a 2012 team that finished 16-15 for a 14th consecutive winning season. The Bears open the 2013 season in Dayton, Ohio, for a three-match tournament Aug. 30-31. Missouri State will face Northeastern, Tulsa and 22nd-ranked Dayton in the event.
2013 MVC Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. Wichita State (8) – 98
2. UNI – 84
3. Missouri State (2) – 83
4. Illinois State – 67
5. Southern Illinois – 60
6. Loyola – 44
7. Evansville – 37
8. Bradley – 35
9. Indiana State – 26
10. Drake – 16
2013 MVC Volleyball Preseason All-Conference Team
Chelsey Feekin, WSU
Elizabeth Field, WSU
Kaitlin Jaeger, MSU
Ashley Rosch, ILS
Carly Thomas, MSU
Macy Ubben, UNI