Former senior Tessa Danhert goes up for a spike. Ethan Pham, The Paisano

North Texas

2016 record: 13-19 (7-7 C-USA)

Despite an underwhelming 2016 season, North Texas looks to come into the 2017 season ready to shock the rest of the conference. On their season so far, North Texas is 8-1 in non-conference play, with impressive wins over Mississippi State and Oregon State. The Mean Green are a rather young team this year, as there are only four seniors on the roster. Despite this, they come into conference play looking very strong and capable of winning the C-USA title. Led by seniors Alexis Wright, Mikali Myers, Amanda Chamberlain and Holly Milam, the Mean Green ladies’ volleyball team is poised to turn some heads in 2017.

Southern Miss

2016 record: 23-8 (11-3 C-USA)

Following an impressive 2016 season, in which the Golden Eagles went 23-8, a record strong enough for the best in the West Division and second best in the conference, Southern Miss hopes to repeat the same success. To start off their 2016 season, the Golden Eagles sit at 8-4 prior to conference play. Much like North Texas, Southern Miss is a young team, with 19 underclassmen compared to seven upperclassmen. Despite a somewhat slow start, Southern Miss is still a serious contendor to take home the C-USA title for the 2017 season.

Rice

2016 record: 20-12 (10-4 C-USA)

Rice, coming off a solid 2016 campaign in which they finished fifth in the conference, looks to build on last season. So far in the 2017 season, Rice has had a suggish start. The Owls enter conference play with a 6-4 record. Despite this rather mediocre start to their season, Rice already has key victories over Mississippi State and Georgetown, along with a five-game win streak. This year, the Owls are also a young team, as they are led by only two seniors. Seniors Madison McDaniel and Portia Okafor hope to end their careers at Rice on a high note and lead their team to a Conference USA title.

Louisiana Tech

2016 record: 13-17 (4-10 C-USA)

During the 2016 season, Louisiana Tech was not a serious threat to challenge for the Conference USA title. So far throughout the 2017 season, LA Tech is sitting at a 3-6 record entering conference play. Over the course of the 2017 season, expect the Bulldogs to experience some rough patches as their younger players gain experience. In spite of this, they will look to provide a challenge to the rest of the conference and exceed expectations. 

2016 season record: 8-22 (5-9 C-USA)

2016 was, simply put, not UTEP’s year in volleyball. They failed to reach double digit wins and only recorded five victories  in conference play. And as the 2017 season has shown so far, it will be another rough year for the Miners. They enter conference play with a 3-6 record. Although they are not considered a serious contender for the Conference-USA title, there is a lot of potential for this UTEP team.

UTSA

2016 record: 20-8 (10-4 C-USA)

2016 was a solid season for UTSA, as they finished fourth in the conference. They hope tobuild off this success and contend for a conference title. However, they have gotten off to a poor start so far in 2017. Things have not gone according to plan for the Roadrunners this season, as they come into conference play with a 1-8 record to their name. Despite this, UTSA should feel confident coming into conference play as they have had a tough non-conference schedule, with such opponents as the sixth ranked Texas Longhorns. The Roadrunners will aim to turn their season around as they enter conference play and to win a conference championship.

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