FLORENCE, S.C. – Conference Carolinas has announced its 2021 preseason poll for women’s volleyball and Francis Marion University has been forecast to finish sixth in its inaugural season in the 13-member NCAA Division II conference.
Fifth-year FMU coach Lauren Baufield-Edwards returns nine letterwinners, including five starters, from last season’s 5-9 squad that completed a delayed and abbreviated schedule this past spring due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Leading the returnees are fifth-year senior hitter Kayla Arthur, senior middle blockers Lily Walton and Iyanla Thigpen, senior hitter Alyssa Hansen, and sophomore setter Kaylee Gillespie.
Baufield-Edwards added a graduate student transfer from an NCAA Division I school (setter Naina Ivanova from Stetson University) and a freshman defensive specialist (Zoie Larkins from Kingsport, Tenn.).
Francis Marion will play a 29-match schedule this fall, including three in-season tournaments and 12 home contests in the Smith University Center.
FMU will begin its season at the Erskine College Tournament on Sept. 3-4, before traveling to the USC Aiken Tournament on Sept. 10-11 and then hosting the FMU Invitational Tournament on Sept. 17-18.