For the first time in program history, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi volleyball earned the status of preseason Southland Conference favorite as the Islanders ran away at the top of the poll.

The Islanders secured 286 of 288 possible points in the poll, which includes votes from each school's head coach and sport information director. Corpus Christi also garnered 23 of a possible 24 first-place votes with the lone holdout voting the back-to-back and undefeated Southland Champions as the third place squad in 2017.

In search of its third-consecutive conference title, Corpus Christi returns five starters from last season's dominant campaign. Four of those landed preseason All-Southland accolades a week ago as reigning Player of the Year Brittany Gilpin, Setter of the Year Kristyn Nicholson and Madi Fitzsimmons were all selected to the First Team while Madeleine Doud earned Second Team recognition.

Rival Stephen F. Austin follows the Islanders in the preseason poll with 246 points. Sam Houston State earned the third spot and was the only other team to pick up a first-place vote in the polls. Corpus Christi will play both SFA and Sam Houston twice during the 2017 regular season.

The Islanders will open practice Tuesday in preparation of the hunt for their third consecutive title in the Southland Conference. Follow along with the first practice by following the Islanders on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


*Teams may not vote for themselves

1. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

2. Stephen F. Austin

3. Sam Houston State

4. Houston Baptist

5. Central Arkansas

6. Abilene Christian

7. Northwestern State

8. UIW

9. McNeese

10. Lamar

11. Southeastern Louisiana

12. Nicholls

13. New Orleans