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Zias picked third in volleyball poll

RICHARDSON, Texas — West Texas A&M may have captured all seven Lone Star Conference South titles since the league went to divisional play in 1997, but the Lady Buffs are expected to have their work cut out trying to extend that streak this fall.

WT earned just eight of 17 first-place votes in a poll of coaches, sports information directors and and media representatives and edged Abilene Christian by just one point (92-91) for first place.

Eastern New Mexico University was third in the poll with 57 points.

WT has gone 75-1 in the South since the start of division play, losing only at Angelo State in five games last fall, and has represented the LSC in NCAA Division II postseason play in 15 of the last 16 seasons. But ACU, which earned the other nine first-place votes, was seen as a major threat with several key players returning.

ACU junior outside hitter Michelle Bernhardt was chosen as the South’s preseason player of the year. She was first-team All-South in 2003, racking up 623 kills and 402 digs.

In the North Division, Central Oklahoma was tabbed to win its fourth consecutive divisional title in a close race. The Bronchos received seven of 15 first-place votes and 77 points to edge out Cameron (74 points) and Texas Woman’s (70), each of whom got four first-place votes.

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