WINTHROP, Mass. – After checking in at No. 8 nationally last week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III Preseason Poll, Johnson & Wales University has received all 13 first-place votes to run away with the top spot in the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Preseason Poll, as voted upon by the league's head coaches.
Winners of the last four GNAC titles, the Wildcats have hosted the NCAA Regional in Providence, R.I. each of the last two years, advancing to the 2017 Elite Eight in Grand Rapids, Mich. before falling in last year's regional final against Wesleyan.
Finishing second to the Wildcats' maximum 169 points was Rivier University with 155 points overall in the preseason tally, followed by Colby-Sawyer College with 136 points, Simmons University with 130 points, and Suffolk University with 110 points. Lasell University was just outside of the top-five with 108 points closely behind the Rams.
The remainder of the poll featured Emmanuel College (85 points), Saint Joseph's College of Maine (80), Regis College (75), Norwich University (47), University of Saint Joseph (41), Albertus Magnus College (34), and Anna Maria College (13).
Led by second-year head coach Dana Jones, Lasell will open the campaign on August 30-31 with four matches at the Keuka College Invitational in Keuka Park, N.Y. The Lasers' home opener is on Saturday, September 7 against Fitchburg State University, and the first GNAC match matches at the following Saturday, September 14, in a tri-match at Albertus Magnus College with Suffolk University.
The Lasers will have to overcome the loss of three-time All-GNAC performer and school record holder Olivia Addington, but return 11 veterans from last year's squad, including GNAC Rookie of the Year and All-GNAC Second Team selection Kiana Perez (Juncos, Puerto Rico/ Notre Dame).
Be sure to catch all of the regular-season and tournament action live on thegnac.tv or watch on one of our four custom digital streaming apps (broadcasts are produced by host institutions). The 2019 GNAC Women's Volleyball Tournament dates are set for Tues-Thurs-Sat, November 5, 7 & 9 at high seeds throughout.
2019 GNAC Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. Johnson & Wales (13) - 169
2. Rivier - 155
3. Colby-Sawyer - 136
4. Simmons - 130
5. Suffolk - 110
6. Lasell - 108
7. Emmanuel - 85
8. Saint Joseph's (Maine) - 80
9. Regis - 75
10. Norwich - 47
11. Saint Joseph (Conn.) - 41
12. Albertus Magnus - 34
13. Anna Maria - 13
(Courtesy of the GNAC Office)
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