The UCA volleyball team is looking to pick up where they left off winning back-to-back SLC titles and being ranked 46 out of 332 colleges in the Division I Rating Percentage Index.
The RPI scale takes into account wins, losses and strength of schedule to rank teams.
The Sugar Bears are ranked No. 1 in the Coaches Poll and in the Sports Information Directors Poll for the Southland Conference.
“We expect nothing less than greatness and are striving to get better and work harder everyday in practice so when it comes to game time, we will be well prepared,” junior defensive specialist and libero Corri Hunt said.
UCA has opponents in the Power Five Conferences including Big 10, Pac-12, ACC and the SEC this season.
Last season the Sugar Bears went 29-4 and 18-0 in conference.
UCA had 1,601 kills last season and are still on a 20-game home win streak.
The Sugar Bears start the season against the Illinois State University Redbirds at the 2014 Oregon Invitational in Eugene, Oregon.
The Redbirds went 19- 13 overall last season going 8-6 against non-conference opponents.
ISU ended the 2013 season ranked No. 91 by the NCAA Women’s Volleyball RPI.
The Sugar Bears will also face the University of Oregon Ducks and the Ohio State University Buckeyes.
The Ducks are ranked No. 31 and the Buckeyes are ranked No. 43 on the RPI.
UCA has a 12 roster members compared to 14 members last year.
While the roster is smaller, the team is still determined to make a deep run this season.
“I’m excited to see where the season takes us,” Hunt said. “We have a small squad this year and are dealing with a couple of injuries, but we know we will get through it.”
“We are expecting to make another statement and win the conference and go back to the NCAA tournament,” she said.
The Sugar Bears have nine returning upperclassmen and three freshmen.
All of the coaching staff is returning.
The only returning non-conference opponent for the Bears is the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
UCA defeated ULM 3-0 last season.
The Sugar Bears have four tournaments, with two of them at home in the Prince Center.