HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University women's volleyball team has been selected to finish ninth in the 2012 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, announced by the league office on Thursday, August. 16. The Bobcats, a team in search for their ninth NEC postseason appearance, will look to bounce defending champion Sacred Heart from the top slot in the census.
Sacred Heart was tabbed as the favorite to claim its third consecutive title, collecting eight first-place votes. Long Island, the 2011 runner-up, secured second place in the poll, followed by Central Connecticut State, Robert Morris and Bryant to round-out the top five picks. Saint Francis (Pa.) and Fairleigh Dickinson were picked sixth and seventh, respectively, followed by St. Francis (N.Y.) and Quinnipiac in the final two slots.
The Bobcats finished last season at 4-25 overall and 3-13 in the Northeast Conference. First-year Head Coach Kristopher Czaplinski will certainly have his hands full after losing Kayla Lawler and Kelby Carey to graduation. Lawler sits atop the QU record books in assists (3431), while Carey had the most kills (946) of any player since the 2004 campaign.
However, Quinnipiac does have the advantage of returning nine student-athletes from 2011 to the 2012 roster. Senior captain Taylor Payne and junior Olivia Grattan return will look to step up and fill the void of Lawler and Carey. Payne completed her strongest season to date a year ago, leading the team in blocks (65) and ranking third in kills (150). Grattan, who plays right alongside of Payne on the front line, also completed her best campaign in a Bobcats' uniform. She led the team in kills (162), finished second in blocks (57) and totaled the highest hitting percentage of any player.
2012 NEC Women's Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Sacred Heart (8)
2. LIU Brooklyn
3. Central Connecticut
4. Robert Morris (1)
6. Saint Francis (PA)
7. Fairleigh Dickinson
8. St. Francis (NY)
Also returning to the lineup is junior Logan Riker and sophomore Brittanie Robinson. Riker, who missed the majority of the 2011 campaign with an injury, led the Bobcats in digs two years ago, compiling 423 of them as the team's libero. Her leadership in the middle of the floor will be instrumental for a successful season. Robinson was sensational in her rookie season, and emerged as a formidable weapon on the outside. She tallied 143 and 154 digs, one of four players to accomplish the feat.
The Northeast Conference Tournament will take place on the third weekend in November. The top four teams will complete for the title, beginning with the Semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the highest seed. A champion will be crowned on Sunday afternoon.
Quinnipiac fans should refer to the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com, for any schedule changes as well as the latest news, scores and highlights. The 2012 Quinnipiac Women's Volleyball Schedule will also be available for download at www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com for all mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as all desktop computers.
Contact: Tony Distasio; email@example.com