DURANT, Okla. — Southeastern Oklahoma State volleyball will head into the 2018 season as an underdog after being picked ninth in the Great American Conference Preseason Poll released by the league office.

The Savage Storm earned 48 points in the voting and finished just behind Henderson State in eighth place with 55 points.

Arkansas Tech was named the preseason favorite after garnering 10 of the 12 first-place votes while Harding picked up the outstanding first-place tallies and finished in second.

Oklahoma Baptist was third in the voting, followed by Northwestern Oklahoma State, with Southern Nazarene rounding out the top five.

Southwestern Oklahoma State was sixth with Ouachita Baptist in seventh.

Arkansas-Monticello checked in 10th, while East Central and Southern Arkansas finished tied for 11th to round out the poll.

Southeastern finished 13-20 last year after closing out the regular season with wins in eight of its last 11 contests, making the GAC Tournament with an 8-8 record before falling to top-seeded ATU in the first round.

The Storm return eight players who started at least 10 matches a season ago, including Abby Jameson, who averaged 3.49 kills per set while earning second team All-GAC honors as well as Caitlin Cosby, who earned the league’s Defensive Player of the Year honor and first-team selection after averaging 5.94 digs per set.

Southeastern opens the season on August 24 at the Capital Plaza Invitational in Topeka, Kan. before hosting the South Central Classic Aug. 31-Sept. 1 to open the home schedule.