(Editor's note: University of Providence release)
WHITEFISH--The University of Providence volleyball team was unanimously selected as the top team in the Frontier Conference preseason poll that was released on Wednesday.
The Argos were picked to win the conference by every other coach in the Frontier. Montana Tech and Rocky Mountain were tied for second, with Carroll coming in fourth place. Montana State-Northern finished fifth, followed by Montana Western.
"It's quite an honor and we're really excited about it," head coach Arunas Duda said. "At the same time, we have to remind ourselves that it's a preseason poll so we know we haven't earned anything yet. Our conference has such a high quality of play with a lot of good players and coaches throughout so we know it's going to be a battle every night."
The Argos are coming off their most successful season in program history. The team, who didn't get to practice in the fall due to COVID-19 restrictions, finished 22-3 on the year. After starting the year 2-2, the squad ripped off 16 straight regular season wins to clinch their first ever outright regular season Frontier Conference Championship.
They followed that up by winning the Frontier Conference Tournament for the third season in a row and earning their third straight NAIA National Championship appearance. They defeated Olivet Nazarene in their opening round game to clinch a spot in the 24-team pool play. In their first game of pool play, they defeated Viterbo in straight sets in their first round game before falling to Jamestown in the Sweet 16. Over the course of the season, the Argos set a program record by winning 20 consecutive games.
"We've talked about having a targets on our back this summer," Duda said. "It leads into how we felt about last year about how no one is going to feel sorry for us that we missed the fall. I think the girls already have that mentality. We only have five home games and every gym we travel to is going to become a tough environment."
The team returns all three All-Americans from last year in 2nd Team All-American setter Cydney Finberg-Roberts, Honorable Mention All-American Sacha Legros and Honorable Mention All-American Sadie Lott. The trio will join a plethora of other returners, including Taylor Christensen and Jensyn Turner, who will look to continue last season's success.
"We haven't talked about goals yet, but knowing our personnel, knowing who's returning and the types of kids that we've recruited, we know we have high, lofty goals for our program," Duda said. "We won't be satisfied with anything less than a conference championship. Knowing how good our conference is, we know it won't be an easy task and it'll be a challenge every night."
The Argos will kick off their season on Aug. 20 against Northwest at the Big Sky Challenge in Butte, Mont.
The poll can be found below.
First-place votes are in parentheses. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams. First place was worth five points, a second place vote is worth four points, a third place vote is worth three points, a fourth place vote is worth two points and a fifth place vote is worth one point.
|University of Providence (5)||25|
|Montana Tech (1)||20|
|Rocky Mountain College||20|