The 2012 Tommie volleyball team is ranked seventh in the Division III preseason poll by the American Volleyball Coaches' Association (AVCA).
St. Thomas volleyball has been ranked in the national top 25 for 82 of the last 83 consecutive polls.
One other conference team is included in the top 25 poll -- Concordia-Moorhead is tied for 19th. Other top-25 ranked teams on St. Thomas' 2012 regular-season schedule are Emory, Carthage and UW-Whitewater. Four other opponents received votes in the poll.
Coach Thanh Pham has guided UST to back-to-back trips to the eight-team NCAA playoff finals in St. Louis with 31 and 32 wins, respectively.
Pham's teams have captured seven MIAC titles and made seven NCAA playoff appearances in his nine seasons. Under Pham, UST has won an even 80% of its matches (248-62), including an 88-11 record in MIAC regular-season play.St. Thomas opens preseason practice this weekend. UST will travel to five weekend tournaments starting Aug. 31-Sept. 1 in Winona for St. Mary's Sugar Loaf Invite. The Toms will later visit Atlanta, Ga., River Falls, Wis., Waverly, Iowa, and LaCrosse, Wis., for tournaments.
The Tommies' home opener is set for Sat. Sept. 22 against St. Ben's (3 p.m.).
UST graduated three seniors, including All-America setter Ashley Maher, but are expected to return 12 of their top 15 players, led by senior All-America libero Kaitlain Wachter and honorable mention All-America middle blocker Kelly Foley. Foley was selected Division III National Freshman of the Year in 2011.
Click here to view D-III poll: