Volleyball seniors receive preseason honors

Jordan Toney

Following an appearance in the NCAA Tournament and a 28-6 record, Georgia Southern’s volleyball team is ranked third in the Sun Belt Conference’s preseason poll behind University of Arkansas at

Little Rock and Texas State. Two seniors were also named all-conference players by the same poll.

Outside hitter Jamie DeRatt was one of the seniors selected, following a season in which she led her team in kills with 435. She also earned the MVP of the 2013 Southern Conference tournament.

Middle hitter Coley was the other senior selected as a Sun-Belt all conference player. In the 2013 season, she was ranked 33rd in the nation for her hitting percentage with a percentage of 38 percent. Only one other player from the Southern Conference was ranked as high as Coley was.

When it comes to the upcoming season, DeRatt isn’t looking to improve any specific stats but, instead, she is trying to improve all aspects of her game.

“I always have room for improvement and it takes more than one person, so I’ll need the help of my teammates,” said DeRatt.

This team has a much tougher schedule this year with their first match being against Florida in Gainesville, Fla., during the Active Ankle Challenge. The Eagles also face Oklahoma and Idaho during that same tournament.

“Obviously we beefed up the schedule this year, it’s only gonna prepare us to move on. We’re planning to go back to the NCAA Tournament. It was nice to get there, but we’re not complacent with that, so we’re preparing our program to move on to the second round, to the sweet sixteen,” Head Coach Dustin Wood said.

Wood, who is in his second year coaching Ga. Southern volleyball, expects improvement over all aspects of the team.

“It was nice because we hit the ground running. We didn’t have to teach, last year was my first year, so we didn’t have to teach what I had to teach and what I want out of my system. My assistants are doing a good job, so just everybody hit the ground running,” Wood said.

Both Coley and DeRatt have big goals going into the season as well and to conclude their volleyball careers with Ga. Southern.

“I want to leave with another ring,” both Coley and DeRatt said in reference to their team winning the SoCon championship last year with a record of 28-6 (13-3).

“I want to be undefeated,” Coley said, adding to her list of goals to leave her Ga. Southern volleyball career with. She’ll have a chance to begin that goal on Aug. 29 against Florida and Oklahoma.