The High Point University volleyball team was picked to finish second in the 2011 Big South Preseason poll, the conference announced Tuesday. It is the highest standing for HPU in the preseason poll. Sophomore Michelle Chakirelis (Bay Village, Ohio/Magnificat) was also voted to the Preseason All-Conference Team.
“Being chosen second in the preseason poll is a great achievement for this program and shows the growth we have had over the last few seasons,” said head coach Jason Oliver. “Michelle’s inclusion on the Preseason All-Conference team is well deserved and I look forward to seeing her continue to improve. We will use this poll as motivation to go out and continue to win Big South Championships.”
HPU, the defending Big South Tournament Champions were voted second in the poll behind Liberty. The Panthers defeated Liberty in the 2010 Big South Conference Championship. High Point returns 10 letterwinners from the championship team including Chakirelis who led the team with 90 blocks as a freshman. The middle blocker averaged 1.44 kills per set last season.
The Panthers went 22-13 (13-3 Big South) in 2010 on the way to their first ever Big South title and NCAA Tournament appearance. The 2011 season begins on Aug. 26 at the Hokie Tournament hosted by Virginia Tech. HPU will face Indiana at 4 p.m. to begin the tournament.