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UCF athletics teams have garnered a great deal of attention during the offseason for academics as well as athletics. On Monday, the volleyball team became the latest to receive recognition as the American Athletic Conference announced its 2015 preseason poll results.

After winning a conference championship last season, UCF topped the poll with seven first-place votes as the favorite to win the 12-team conference.

“It is certainly surprising and we appreciate our colleagues thinking so highly of us,” head coach Todd Dagenais said in a press release. “It’s an honor. We graduated six starters from last year’s team. We feel like this team has an opportunity to be competitive with training, hard work and game experience, but we’re not there yet. I think we have a long way to go to be considered the favorite in this conference.”

SMU and Temple were the only other schools to receive first-place votes. SMU earned three and Temple earned one.

The poll also included a 12-player 2015 Preseason All-Conference Team. UCF juniors Jale Hervey and Kia Bright each earned themselves a spot on the team as unanimous selections, making up half of the total unanimous selection picks.

“As a program, we are fortunate to have two first team outside hitters returning,” Dagenais said in the release. “For Kia and Jale to have been recognized among the best in the conference again is a nice tribute to them. They will play an important role in the success we will have this season.”

Among their accolades, Bright was named to the 2014 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Region First Team and both players found themselves on the 2014 All-AAC First Team.

UCF opens regular-season action at home against Northern Colorado on Aug. 28 at noon.

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Jarrod Heil is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @JHeil11 or email him at JarrodH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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