Midwestern State begins the climb back up the Lone Star Conference standings under the direction of first-year coach Natalie Rawson.
The trip won't be an easy one as the Mustangs were picked last in the annual preseason poll of coaches, sports information directors and selected media Tuesday afternoon.
"This year we are focused on building a strong foundation and establishing a championship culture. To compete in this conference we must have a championship attitude and create winning habits every day," Rawson said. "I believe that wins will come once the culture is established but right now my view of success will be in the process, improving each day and getting my players to be the best version of themselves."
West Texas A&M is once again the favorites receiving 19 of the 25 first-place votes for a total of 218 points. The Lady Buffs claimed their 16th league title in the last 20 years sweeping LSC play with a 16-0 record while going 32-5 overall.
Tarleton State, which claimed its first postseason tournament title in 2014, received five first-place nods on the way to 186 points were picked second followed by Angelo State. The Rambelles, who won their seventh league title in 2012, tallied one first-place vote and a total of 179.
Texas Woman's (147 points) is picked fourth followed by Texas A&M-Kingsville (115), Cameron (87), Texas A&M-Commerce (75), Eastern New Mexico (65) and MSU (53).
Midwestern State battled to a 9-20 record last season including a 3-13 record in league play.
The Mustangs return five starters including senior outside hitter Hunter Porter, who paced the team with 2.48 kills per set. Junior middle blocker Sarah Garfield earned second-team All-Lone Star Conference honors after averaging 2.16 kills and 0.97 blocks per set.
Other returning starters include junior setter Sarah Rosinke (8.15 assists per set), sophomore middle blocker Angel Summers (1.67 kills, 0.84 blocks per set) and sophomore outside hitter Addison Semer (1.43 kills per set).
Juniors Cody Moore (0.86 kills per set) and Madelyn Johnson (2.90 digs per set) as well as sophomores Meghan Bettis (1.42 kills per set), Leah Lychock (0.84 kills per set) and Morgan Haire (1.37 digs per set) are also back for the Mustangs.
Midwestern opens the season at the Oredigger Volleyball taking on Colorado Christian and Pace (N.Y.) on Sept. 4 before closing tournament play against Minnesota State-Moorhead and Colorado Mines the following day.
The Mustangs take on Southwestern Oklahoma State and Texas Wesleyan in a home opening tri-match on Sept. 9 at D.L. Ligon Coliseum at 3 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year:
Hailey Roberts, Tarleton State
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year:
Kenya Alexander, Tarleton State
Preseason Setter of the Year:
Casey Klobedans, Texas A&M-Kingsville