ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Union (Ky.) is the odds-on favorite to capture the 2017 Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) volleyball championship, according the AAC Coaches' Preseason Poll released Tuesday.

Union received all 13 first-place votes in garnering 169 total voting points. The Bulldogs have won the past three AAC Tournament titles and took home both the regular-season and tournament championships last season. Union became the first team in conference history to win a NAIA Opening Round match, advancing to the final site of the 2016 NAIA National Championship Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa. Union also scored a match win at the final site, finishing postseason play with a 2-2 record.

In 2016, Union posted a 34-11 overall record and went 20-2 in conference play.

Milligan (Tenn.) was picked second, earning all 13 second-place votes to amass 156 points. The Buffaloes went 31-8 overall and was second in the regular season with a 19-3 league mark.

Montreat (N.C.) (14-19 overall, 12-10 AAC in 2016) landed third with 116 points, while St. Andrews (N.C.) (22-15 overall, 15-7 AAC in 2016) checked in at No. 4 with 109 points. The Knights advanced to the NAIA Opening Round last season, making their first-ever postseason appearance.

There was a three-way tie for fifth between Bryan (Tenn.), Reinhardt (Ga.), and Tennessee Wesleyan as all three received 106 points. Making up the rest of the field are: Bluefield (Va.) in eighth with 86 points, Truett McConnell (Ga.) in ninth with 71 points, Point (Ga.) in 10th with 62 points, Brenau (Ga.) in 11th with 45 points, Columbia (S.C.) in 12th with 28 points, and Allen (S.C.) in 13th with 23 points.

This season, the league will be divided into divisions with six playing in the North Division and seven in the South Division. The teams making up the North Division are: Bluefield, Bryan, Milligan, Montreat, Tennessee Wesleyan, and Union. In the South Division, the teams are: Allen, Brenau, Columbia, Point, Reinhardt, St. Andrews, and Truett McConnell.

The top four teams in each division will advance to the 2017 AAC Tournament, which is set for Nov. 9-11 at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center.

2017 AAC Volleyball Preseason Poll
School (1st Place Votes)Total Points
1. Union (13)169
2. Milligan156
3. Montreat116
4. St. Andrews109
5. (tie) Bryan106
5. (tie) Reinhardt106
5. (tie) Tennessee Wesleyan106
8. Bluefield86
9. Truett McConnell71
10. Point62
11. Brenau45
12. Columbia28
13. Allen23