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August 20, 2014

Defending national champs ranked second in preseason poll

Despite returning five players from last year’s national championship squad, the Cowley College volleyball team will enter the 2014 season ranked second in the NJCAA Division II national preseason poll.

Cowley, which defeated Parkland College (IL) in five games in last year’s national championship match, is ranked behind only Parkland in the preseason poll.

The Lady Tigers will enter the season with a new head coach (Riann Mullis) and several talented freshmen as they attempt to make up for the loss of four All-Americans to graduation.

“I think being ranked second gives us the motivation to be ranked No. 1,” Mullis said. “It’s possible for us to be ranked No. 1; it is just going to take a lot of hard work, concentration and leadership.”

Along with Cowley, Johnson County is ranked third nationally, while Kansas City is ranked 12th.

“To have three teams ranked in the top-12 is good for our conference,” Mullis said. “Our competition in the conference will help us improve.”

The Lady Tigers will then open the season with matches Friday and Saturday at the Iowa Western Tournament in Council Bluffs, IA. Cowley will have an opportunity to face No. 5-ranked Central Nebraska at the tournament.

Top-20 NJCAA Division II Preseason Poll: (1) Parkland; (2) Cowley; (3) Johnson County; (4) Illinois Central; (5) Central Nebraska; (6) Oakland (MI); (7) Kirkwood (IA); (8) Scottsdale (AZ); (9) Des Moines Area (IA); (10) Grand Rapids (MI); (11) Glendale (AZ); (12) Kansas City; (13) Muskegon (MI); (14) South Suburban (IL); (15) North Platte (Neb); (16) Columbus State (OH); (17) Iowa Central; (18) Catawba Valley (N.C.); (19) Hagerstown (MD); (20) Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.

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