Cal U women, men picked in the middle
The California University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team tied for third place and the men's team was picked to finish fourth in the preseason Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West poll announced by the league office on Wednesday afternoon.
TheVulcans' men's basketball team posted a 12-15 overall record last season and made a third-straight appearance in the PSAC Tournament.
Cal U return five players from last year, including reigning PSAC West Freshman of the Year Jake Jacubec, but will have to replace four of their top-five scorers from last season.
Defending-PSAC Champion IUP was the overwhelming preseason favorite in the PSAC West after posting a league-high 26 overall victories last year. The Crimson Hawks received seven first-place votes in the poll and have won the last four divisional titles. Gannon and Slippery Rock finished second and third, respectively, with each receiving one first-place vote. Following Cal U, league-newcomer Pitt- Johnstown rounded out the top five in the preseason poll after advancing to the quarterfinals of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) Tournament last year.
In the PSAC East, West Chester was selected the preseason favorite after receiving five first-place votes. East Stroudsburg received three first-place votes after winning the division last year behind 22 overall wins. Millersville and Bloomsburg finished third and fourth, respectively, while Mansfield received the last first-place vote and rounded out the top five in the poll.
The Vulcans open the season at the Clarion Hotel Classic hosted by Shepherd Nov. 9-10.
Meanwhile, the women's team posted a 22-9 overall record last season and finished fourth in the divisional standings before advancing to the Atlantic Regional Championships in the NCAA Tournament.
Cal U returns four starters from last year, but will have to replace its leading scorer for the fourth-straight year.
Gannon was the preseason favorite in the PSAC West for the first time since joining the league in 2008. The Golden Knights received six first-place votes after leading the conference last year with 31 overall victories, including 20 wins in divisional play. Edinboro was picked second with one first-place vote, while Cal U and IUP tied for third with each school receiving one first-place vote. League-newcomer Seton Hill rounded out the top five in divisional standings after advancing to the finals of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) Tournament last season.
In the PSAC East, Millersville was the preseason favorite and was one of four schools to receive multiple first-place votes in the poll. The Marauders received two first-place votes after advancing to the semifinals of the 2013 PSAC Tournament. Defending-league champion Bloomsburg led the division with three first-place votes after posting 24 overall victories last year, which was the most in the PSAC East. Shippensburg ranked third with a pair of first-place votes, while West Chester and Kutztown, which also earned two first-place votes, rounded out the top five in the preseason poll.
Senior guard Kate Seebohm was a preseason All-PSAC West selection. Last year, she tied for the league lead and ranked No. 14 in the country with a career-high 5.2 assists per game. An All-PSAC West Second-Team honoree as a junior, Seebohm was also among the league leaders with 2.2 steals and 33.4 minutes per game last season.
The Vulcan women open the regular season on Nov. 9 with a home game against Millersville at 7 p.m.