Courtesy: America East Communications

UMBC Tops #AEVB Preseason Coaches' Poll

Release: 08/21/2014

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — After reaching its third America East title game in program history last year, the UMBC Retrievers have been picked as the favorite in the 2014 volleyball preseason coaches' poll, the conference office announced Wednesday afternoon. The voting was conducted by the conference’s seven head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams.

The Retrievers edged out reigning champion New Hampshire, receiving three first-place votes and 33 points. The Wildcats also received three first-place votes and totaled 30 points to come in second. Stony Brook received the lone remaining first-place vote and was picked third with 28 points.

Albany came in fourth with 21 points, followed by Binghamton in fifth with 17 points, Harford in sixth with 12 points and UMass Lowell in seventh in six points. Here the full poll:

2014 Preseason Poll (1st-place votes)

1. UMBC, 33 pts (3)
2. New Hampshire, 30 (3)
3. Stony Brook, 28 (1)
4. Albany, 21
5. Binghamton, 17
6. Hartford, 12
7. UMass Lowell, 6

Preview each of the teams below --

1. UMBC Retrievers 
2013 record: 19-12, 9-5, AE Runner-up (T-2nd)

  • UMBC reached the America East title game for the third time in program history, falling to New Hampshire in five sets.
  • The Retrievers return four starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's squad.
  • Among the returners is outside hitter Hannah Schmidt, who led the team in both kills (2.58/set) and hitting percentage (.254) while being named to the All-Conference Second Team in 2013.
  • Head coach Ian Blanchard will be in his 10th season with an overall record of 140-127.

2. New Hampshire Wildcats
2013 record: 20-13, 12-2, AE Champion (1st)

  • New Hampshire won the 2013 America East title, the program's first in 10 years while also hosting last year's America East Volleyball Championship.
  • The Wildcats return 12 players, including a pair of all-conference performers in Tori Forrest and Taylor Dunklau from 2013.
  • Forrest finished fourth in the conference at 2.91 kills per set, while Dunklau was fourth with 9.54 assists per set.
  • Head coach Jill Hirschinger leads the 2013 Coaching Staff of the Year in her 19th season at the helm of the Wildcats.

3. Stony Brook Seawolves
2013 record: 16-18, 9-5, AE Semifinals (T-2nd)

  • The No. 3 selection matches the highest for the Seawolves in program history back in 2006.
  • Second year head coach Coley Pawlikowski brought the Seawolves to the America East semifinals in her first year on Long Island.
  • Stony Brook returns 10 letterwinners from last year including second-team all-conference selection Stephanie McFadden, who finished eighth in hitting percentage in the league.

4. Albany Great Danes
2013 record: 9-19, 9-5, AE Semifinals (T-2nd)

  • Albany has won either the conference regular-season or tournament titles in nine of the last ten years.
  • The Great Danes have a very young squad that features only two seniors, including 2013 Defensive Specialist of the Year Viktoriia Stroilo. 
  • Albany also brings back All-Rookie honorees Amanda Dolan and Mikala McCauley. Dolan was the 2013 America East Rookie of the Year.

5. Binghamton Bearcats
2013 record: 9-19, 7-7, DNQ, (5th)

  • Binghamton returns five starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's squad that came up two games shy of the America East tournament in 2013. 
  • Head coach Glenn Kiriyama is 232-230 in 15 seasons at Binghamton.
  • The Bearcats, who won the 2012 America East Volleyball title, return setter Amanda Dettmann along with All-Rookie performer Allison Hovie. 

6. Hartford Hawks 
2013 record: 12-18, 6-8, DNQ (6th)

  • Hartford finished sixth in the conference last year but is still looking for its first trip to the America East tournament since 1995.
  • The 6-8 conference record was the best for the team since 1999.
  • Jackie Tamburri returns for the Hawks, a second-team all-conference selection in 2013, who ranked second in the conference at 9.84 assists per set. 
  • Head coach Alex Temkin enters his third season with the Hawks and has a 21-37 record.

7. UMass Lowell River Hawks
2013 record: 0-26, 0-14, N/A (8th)

  • UMass Lowell enters its second season of Division I play in search of its first Division I win after going 0-26 in 2013.
  • The River Hawks enter a new era under first-year head coach Resa Provanzano, who spent that past six years as an assistant coach at Northeastern.
  • Anisa Smith looks to lead the River Hawks on the attack, leading the team last year with 1.98 kills per set.