Monday, December 13, 2010
Bulldogs finish 2010 season ranked number 24 in AVCA top 25 poll
“This season was great on its own, but realistically, it was a culmination of several years of progress and development,” head coach Shelton Collier says. “We have had some amazing consistency over the last several years and found ways to win matches when it certainly seemed like it was going to go the other way.
“To have our team listed in the national rankings is quite special for us,” Collier says. “We were proud that we played well at the Elite Eight; we feel we did gain some respect from a number of coaches by playing a high level of volleyball, even in a loss. We had a good mix of veteran leadership and strong play from our younger players. The result was the best season we have ever had here. It is very rewarding for us to finish the season as a ranked team.”
Wingate’s historic season came to an end in the Elite Eight, as the Bulldogs fell to the University of Central Missouri, who finished the season ranked third in the nation. Wingate’s 131-8 overall record since the start of the 2007 season is good for a nation’s best .942 winning percentage. The Bulldogs are the only team to rank in the top three nationally in winning percentage in each of the last four seasons.
The Bulldogs are the only team in SAC history to crack the AVCA top 25. Wingate was ranked for five weeks in the 2009 season; the Bulldogs were ranked in the final two polls in 2010. The ‘Dogs have won at least 30 matches in each of the last four seasons, while going undefeated in conference play as well.
Wingate has had a winning streak of at least 23 matches each year, including a nation’s best 29-match streak in 2010. The current 64-match SAC winning streak is a league record. The Bulldogs have been the number one ranked team in every NCAA Southeast Region poll since 2008, hosting the regional tournament for three consecutive years.
The Bulldogs made their sixth NCAA post-season tournament appearance this season, the most in league history. Wingate’s six NCAA Tournament victories are more than the rest of the teams in the league combined. The Bulldogs are the only team in the SAC to win a regional title and appear in the Elite Eight. The ‘Dogs have made five consecutive trips to the NCAA Division II tournament.
The Bulldogs won their seventh conference regular season title in 2010, while also claiming their seventh Food Lion SAC tournament title. Both totals are the most in league history. Wingate is also the first team in conference history to go undefeated in league play in four straight seasons. The Bulldogs are also the only team to win five consecutive SAC titles. Wingate leads all current league members in all-time wins (477) and conference victories (196).