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August 26, 2014

Little East Conference announces Preseason Volleyball Poll

UMass Boston claims top spot; PSU fourth

            NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Five-time defending Little East Conference Champions UMass Boston was again selected by the league's head coaches as the preseason favorite to keep the title in the 2014 Little East Preseason Poll. The Beacons, who enter the season ranked No. 22 nationally by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, received six first place votes to total 48 points in the poll.

            Keene State received the second spot, claiming one first place vote and 40 points after finishing second in the conference last season. Third place in the poll was claimed by Western Connecticut, which totaled 37 points.

            The Beacons look to repeat last year's perfect league mark, going 7-0 in conference play as part of a 24-16 overall record. Under co-head coaches Terry Condon and Michael Houlihan, UMass Boston seeks its fourth NCAA Regional title after advancing to the 2013 Division III National Tournament and taking a game from eventual national champion Calvin College. Two young stars return for their sophomore seasons in defensive specialist Elizabeth Glavan and middle hitter Julia Murphy. Glavan, a 2013 AVCA All-Region selection, led the conference with 5.27 digs per set last season en route to earning Little East Defensive Player of the Year honors. Murphy, last season's Co- Little East Offensive Player of the Year, posted a conference-best .298 hitting percentage in her freshman campaign to go along with 339 kills.

            The Keene State Owls hope to make their third-straight appearance in the Little East Championship match this season and improve upon a 6-1 league record and 20-13 overall mark last year. Head coach Bob Weiner will enter his 10th season at the helm for Keene State and returns nine players, including 2013's Co-Little East Offensive Player of the Year Angela Silveri. Silveri, a junior outside hitter, averaged 3.66 points per set and recorded 359 kills last year, pacing the conference with both marks.

            Western Connecticut enters its third campaign under head coach Don Ferguson and hopes to return to the top after tying for the Little East regular season title in 2012. Last year, the Colonials went 25-9, putting up a 4-3 mark in conference play to finish fourth in the standings. WCSU returns the core of last year's talent, including three strong senior performers in Nina Wojtkiewicz, Jennifer Hogan and Caitlin Van Camp as well as 2013 First Team All-Little East selection Karissa Smith, a sophomore outside hitter.

            Completing the coaches' predicted order of finish in the poll are Plymouth State (35 points), Eastern Connecticut (34), UMass Dartmouth (22), Southern Maine (16) and Rhode Island College (13).

            Conference play in Little East volleyball will consist of each team meeting each other once during the regular season, with conference play set to begin on September 22. The top six teams in the final regular season conference standings will participate in the 2014 Little East Volleyball Championship, with the top two seeds earning first round byes and higher seeds hosting throughout. The tournament is slated to begin on November 4, with the championship match scheduled for November 9.

Little East Conference

2014 Volleyball Preseason Poll

 

Team

1st Place Votes

Total Points

1. UMass Boston

       6

     48

2. Keene State   

       1

     40

3. Western Connecticut

 

     37

4. Plymouth State

  

     35

5. Eastern Connecticut

 

     34

6. UMass Dartmouth

 

     22

7. Southern Maine

 

     16

8. Rhode Island College

 

     13

 

(Courtesy of the Little East Conference)

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