Elmhurst, IL - New member IPFW is the preseason favorite to win its first Summit League volleyball championship in a vote of the league's nine head coaches. The Mastodons received 58 points and three first-place votes to beat out Oral Roberts for the top spot.
The Golden Eagles, who were last year's regular-season and tournament champions, garnered three first-place votes en route to 56 points. The other two new schools in the league, South Dakota State and North Dakota State, came in third and fourth in the preseason voting with 54 and 44 points, respectively. The Jackrabbits also received three first-place votes. Western Illinois came in fifth with 37 points, followed by IUPUI with 30 tallies. Rounding out the poll are UMKC (21), Oakland (16) and Centenary (8).
IPFW finished 2006 with an RPI of 88 and has 20 or more wins in each of the past four seasons. The Mastodons return five starters from last year's squad that ranked 19th in the nation in digs per game (19.08) and 52nd in match win/loss percentage (.722). The team will be led by senior libero Peachy Jankowski. The 2006 Division I Independent Defensive Player of the Year ranked 24th nationally with 5.62 digs per game last season.
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