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College volleyball: UNI overwhelming favorite in MVC
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COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL

College volleyball: UNI overwhelming favorite in MVC

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Northern Iowa's Rachel Koop, left, and Kate Busswitz go up to block a shot by Evansville's Alondra Vazquez during a 2018 match at the McLeod Center.

ST. LOUIS — It’s unanimous.

The University of Northern Iowa volleyball team picked up all 10 first-place votes from the league’s coaches and is the overwhelming favorite to repeat as the Missouri Valley Conference champion this season.

The Panthers went 24-10 overall and 16-2 in MVC matches a year ago and return five starters. Setter Rachel Koop and outside hitter Karlie Taylor, both seniors who were first-team all-conference last season, were named to the preseason all-conference team.

Taylor averaged an MVC-best 4.77 kills per set and added 3.2 digs per set last fall. Koop led the league with an 11.97 assists-per-set average.

Also back are middle hitter Kate Busswitz and outside hitter Jaydlin Seehase, both second-team all-MVC picks a year ago, along with veterans Taylor Hedges, Baylee Petersen, Inga Rotto and Abbi Staack.

Illinois State is second in the preseason poll. Drake came in sixth.

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