The Bobcats are stuck in an unfamiliar position before the start of the 2016 season.
A position they had no control over.
For the first time since 2002, Ohio was selected by Mid-American Conference head coaches to place outside of the top two spots in the MAC East Division.
Yes, the same school that last year swept the MAC Tournament, beating Kent State and then top-seeded Northern Illinois. In 2014 Ohio finished 16-0 throughout the regular season, was predicted to finish third in the East.
“We don’t really care what other people think about us honestly,” Ohio coach Deane Webb said. “We care a lot about how good we are when conference play comes along, conference tournament comes along.”
Webb wasn’t surprised to see the results of the poll.
He noted that with theloss of three of the team's four-year starters this offseason in Abby Gilleland, Meredith Ashy and Karin Bull, every coach would expect a slight downturn.
Current senior and starting libero Brooke Coleman shared her coach’s skepticism of the value of pre-season polls.
“I don’t really pay attention to predictions,” Coleman said. “Honestly, it’s not usually what ends up happening.”
One prediction from Monday that the Bobcats didn’t dispute was junior outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek making the 2016 Preseason All-MAC East Team.
Kosiorek was the lone Ohio selection on the Preseason All-MAC East team.
Preseason polls and selections normally don’t turn an eye, but for a team with the Bobcats' NCAA Tournament pedigree to be selected this low, Webb and his players can’t avoid where they’ve been slotted.
“I don’t take it as an insult,” Webb said. “But it is certainly motivation. And we hope to be much higher than that when it’s all over.”