EDISON, N.J. – The Quinnipiac women's volleyball team was chosen to finish tenth in the 2013 MAAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, announced by the league office on Tuesday, Aug. 27. The Bobcats enter their second season under head coach Kris Czaplinski, who looks to continue to make strides and shape this youthful team into consistent winners.
Fairfield University was selected as the favorite to win the MAAC title with 99 points in the poll. After finishing the 2012 regular season 22-9 with a 15-3 mark in conference play, the Stags clinched the regular season title and won the MAAC Tournament for the first time since 2001. The traditionally dominant Siena College claimed second place with 85 points a year after falling to Fairfield in the MAAC Championship. The Saints have won the MAAC eight times, the most of any participating institution, but lost for the first time in the title game last year. Canisius, a postseason participant in five out of the last seven years, earned third place with 74 points, followed by Manhattan (70), Iona (53), Marist (50), Niagara (49), Rider (36), Saint Peter's (18) and Quinnipiac (16). Fairfield's back-to-back MAAC Setter of the Year Rachel Romanski earned the Preseason Player of the Year award.
The Bobcats enter the 2013 season coming off a 2-23 season with a 1-15 record in their final year as a member of the Northeast Conference. Czaplinski brings back seven players from the 2012 squad including senior libero Logan Riker (Bowling Green, Ohio). The program's all-time leader in digs with 1,078 reclaims her role as team captain for the third straight season. Riker started all 25 matches for the Bobcats last year and played in 81 of 82 possible sets.
Returning alongside Riker will be senior middle hitter Bonnie Conklin (Plano, Texas) as well as junior Tanner Celestin (Norco, Calif.) and sophomore Chandler Thornton (Arlington, Texas). Conklin enjoyed a breakout 2012 campaign as she finished with career highs across the board in kills (106), hitting percentage (.192) and a team-high 65 blocks. Celestin led the team with a team-high 154 kills last season while Thornton was second on the team in both kills (138) and digs (140).
Supplementing the returning class will be six talented freshman who figure to see extended playing time in their first seasons with the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac looks to impress in their first year as a member of the MAAC and earn a postseason berth for the first time in program history. The season begins on Friday, Aug. 30 when the Bobcats will play in the Texas State Classic, a four-game tournament in San Marcos, Texas. After a challenging non-conference slate, the Bobcats play in their first MAAC game on Sat., Sept. 21 against Fairfield at 1:00 pm from Burt Kahn Court.
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