Rivier Tops GNAC Men's Volleyball Preseason Poll
Rivier College leads the 2011 pre-season polls for men's volleyball based on a vote from all GNAC coaches. The Raiders are the reigning 2010 GNAC Champions, which sent them to the first round of the NCAA tournament. Coming in a close second is the Emmanuel College Saints, trailing the Raider by one point.
Rounding out the top four teams that are predicted to make it to the GNAC Playoffs are Johnson and Wales University (23) and Lasell College (22).
1. Rivier College (32)
Rivier College (32) returns to the top of the rankings as number one to continue its dominant performance in the GNAC and to defend their title. The Raiders return three seniors this season to include 3 year kill leader Jared Andreozzi. Riv's season will kick off with a weekend long campaign a home versus new comer Elmira and local rivals Endicott College and Wentworth Institute on January 15th and 16th. This year Rivier will look towards its depth on the bench and energetic new players to stake claim at another GNAC title. The Raiders will continue to improve themselves through the guidance of their knowledgeable coaching staff and competitive nature to provide challenging efforts to all that wish to dethrone them.
2. Emmanuel College (31)
Emmauel College (31)enters the season with a National ranking and second on the GNAC poll this season, with nine seniors on its roster it returns from a record setting season of 27-11 overall and 11-1 in the GNAC. Emmanuel has a solid lineup of experienced players that have fought themselves to a well deserved position of respect in the GNAC. The Saints intend to use their playoff experience to their advantage with a bench full of quality players to fill in at a moment's notice, they look to knock off first ranked and reigning GNAC champ Rivier College. The players will look to their new coaching staff to provide them with the guidance and energy to quench the thirst for their first GNAC title, the Saints season will kick off January 20th at home against the Mt Ida Mustangs.
3. Johnson and Wales University (23)
Johnson and Wales University (23) will begin the season ranked third in the GNAC. JWU will enter the season replacing their lack of senior leadership with youth and energy that is eager to make their presence known on the court. The Wildcats will look towards their returning starters to lead the way towards another contention for a GNAC title. JWU's fresh legs and youthful arms return kill leaders Peter Yanakiev and Eric Minnich to set the pass for Cats offense. The Wildcats will look to make a statement not to be overlooked against their home opener versus GNAC's reigning champs and first ranked Rivier College January 18th.
4. Lasell College (22)
Lasell College (22) enter the season ranked 4th in the GNAC, however the Lasers don't look to have rankings influence their season in the least. Behind their new and experienced coaching staff, the men of Lasell look to take their youthful exuberances to the next level and venture a run to a GNAC title. The team's short bench could be its biggest asset, having players with big hearts and aspirations look to be heard from on and off the court this season. The Lasers will start the season with a tri match versus Endicott and GNAC rival Rivier College on January 15th in Beverly, Ma.