August 31, 2017

Maine Maritime Voted 2017 Preseason Favorite to Repeat as NAC Volleyball Champion

Maine Maritime Academy was selected to repeat as the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) volleyball champions in the 2017 preseason poll. The Mariners received a total of 59 points and six of the eight first place votes to top the league.

Colby-Sawyer College was slated second with 52 points and one first-place vote, while Husson University was voted third with 46 points and Lyndon State College and New England College tied for fourth with 32 points apiece, as the Hornets claimed the remaining first-place vote.

Rounding out the poll were Castleton University in sixth with 29 points, Johnson State College took seventh with 23 points, and Green Mountain College earned eighth with 15 points.

Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head volleyball coaches.

2017 NAC Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll

Team

Points (First Place Votes)

1. Maine Maritime 

59 (6)

2. Colby-Sawyer

52 (1)

3. Husson 

46

T4. Lyndon

32 (1)

T4. New England College

32

6. Castleton

29

7. Johnson

23

8. Green Mountain

15

The top two teams in the 2017 preseason poll have competed in the NAC Championship title match the last six seasons. In the 2016 NAC Semifinals, No. 1 Maine Maritime defeated No. 4 Lyndon 3-0 (25-14, 25-10, 25-19), while No. 2 Colby-Sawyer earned a 3-0 victory over No. 3 Husson (24-16, 25-15, 25-19). In the NAC Championship, the Mariners defeated the Chargers 3-1 (25-18, 25-15, 17-25, 25-23).

After claiming the team's first NAC Championship since 2010, the program's fifth overall, the Mariners earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament. In the first round of the national tournament, Maine Maritime fell to Tufts University, as the Jumbos, who made it to the 2016 NCAA Quarterfinals, earned a 3-0 victory (25-14, 25-8, 25-17)

All eight NAC women's volleyball teams are set to start the season this weekend. The top six teams in the regular-season conference standings will qualify for the NAC tournament, which gets underway Saturday, October 28, with quarterfinal action between seeds 3-6. The top two seeds will earn a bye in the first round and will take on the two quarterfinal winners in the semifinals on Friday, November 3, at the No. 1 seed. The two semifinal victors will battle for the NAC championship on Saturday, November 4, at the No. 1 seed.

Click HERE to view the 2017 NAC Volleyball composite schedule.

2017 NAC Volleyball Previews

For more information on each team, click the school name to be directed to the volleyball section of each school's website.

1. Maine Maritime (22-9, 7-0 NAC) will see Tricia Carver return to the helm as she enters her fifth season as the Mariners leader. MMA returns 2016 NAC Rookie of the Year Sydney Adams (Trumbull, Conn.; pictured right) and 2016 NAC Defensive Player of the Year Maria Perez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) for their sophomore seasons. The Mariners will look to defend their 2016 NAC Championship Title and open up the 2017 season against the University of New England on Friday, September 1. 

 

 

2. Colby-Sawyer (11-21, 6-1 NAC) will be led by first-year head coach Josh Anderson. The Chargers will look to earn a spot in the NAC title match for the seventh-straight season in 2017. Despite the loss of the team's kills leader to graduation, Anderson welcomes back the second and third leading attackers in junior Courtney Murray (Quincy, Mass.) and sophomore Naarah Cox (Boston, Mass.; pictured right). Murray collected 169 kills, while Cox had 146 and a team best .283 hitting percentage on her way to being named to the All-NAC first team. The team will open the season with three matches at Rogers Williams in Rhode Island beginning on September 1 against Emerson to be followed by contests against Bridgewater State and the host Hawks. 

 

   

3. Husson (15-15, 5-2 NAC) will be led by second-year head coach Taylor Roland-Bouhl, who welcomes back Hannah Hembrow (Milford, N.H.; pictured right), a 2016 All-NAC first team selection, and Bailey Cote (Biddeford, Maine). Hembrow became the first freshman to earn first-team honors since 2006 and first Eagle player to be named to the first team since 2012. She led the team in assists (500), assists per match average (5.43), matches played (31), and ranked second in sets played (92). Cote ranked first in hitting percentage (2.68), total blocks (37), and solo blocks (26). The Eagles will strive for a return trip to the NAC tournament and look to capture their first NAC championship in program history. Husson opens the season on September 2 and 3 as the Eagles host an invitational. 

 

  

 

T4. Lyndon (11-10, 4-3 NAC) will be guided by Sean Fisher, who enters his 12th season as head coach. The Hornets will see key players return in Faith Richard (Acushnet, Mass.; pictured right), Sam Theriault (West Ossipee, N.H.), and Lexi Walker (Groton, Conn.). The squad has several impact newcomers joining the program including Madeline DeGroot (Canton, Maine), Amber Roberts (Berlin, N.H.), and Zoe Pierce-Olhson (Ledyard, Conn.). The Hornets will look to make another return trip to the NAC Tournament for the fifth year in a row. They open the season on the road for non-conference matchups with Johnson and Green Mountain on Friday and Saturday, September 1 and 2. 

 

  

 

 

T4. New England College will hit the court as the schools first-ever women's volleyball team on September 1. First-year head coach Laura Falkowitz welcomes a team of 17 student-athletes to campus for preseason, and the team is preparing for a competitive year. Freshman Kaitlyn Walker (Cottonwood, Calif.) tops the recruiting class, as she was named the California Athlete of the Year and holds the record as the highest scorer in Anderson High School history. NEC also welcomes Angela Davis (Springfield, Mass.), who was a two-time All-Western Massachusetts selection at Springfield Central High School. The Pilgrims will open their inaugural season at home on Friday at 6:00 p.m. against Southern Vermont, and will take on Fisher and Curry on Saturday. 

  

 

6. Castleton (9-13, 3-4 NAC) looks to improve upon its fifth-place finish in the 2016 standings under fourth-year head coach Nicole Kondziela. Kimberly Jackson (South Windsor, Conn.; pictured right) brings senior leadership to the team after finishing second in the league in aces per set last season (0.84). Jackson was also second on the team in digs (204) and third in kills (114). Among the five newcomers is six-foot middle hitter Shannon Manchester (West Hartford, Conn.) as well as transfer Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.), who collected 99 kills, 43 service aces, and 207 digs for Plymouth State in 2016. The Spartans open at Elms College's Blazer Invitational September 1 against Albertus Magnus and SUNY Cobleskill. 

 

    

 

7. Johnson (3-20, 1-6 NAC) enters the 2017 season under second-year head coach Joan Porambo. The Badgers will look to sophomore Kimberly Reville (Burke, N.Y.; pictured right) to take a leadership role for the young team, which includes newcomer Hanna Buedinger (Vernon, Vt.). Johnson will look to build off of last year's progress and make a push for the NAC Tournament. The squad begins the season at home on September 1 against Lyndon. 

 

 

 

 

8. Green Mountain (0-18, 0-7 NAC) enters the 2017 season with Steve Martin at the helm of the Eagles' program in his second season. Julia Harcourt (Nottingham, N.H.) returns to lead the team in her sophomore season after getting significant playing time as a freshman. The team will be mainly fresh faced marked by six incoming players on the roster. The Eagles will continue to focus on player development this season in a building year for the program. Green Mountain opens the season at home on September 2 against Lyndon.