Morrisville State Ranked No. 1 in 2018 NEAC Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll

Morrisville State Ranked No. 1 in 2018 NEAC Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – After winning its first conference crown in 2017, Morrisville State will enter this season as the No. 1 team in the 2018 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) women’s volleyball preseason poll.  

Morrisville State received nine first-place votes and 118 points to finish atop this year’s rankings. The Mustangs begin the season with high expectations after going 24-7 overall and earning an 8-1 mark against league foes last fall. Six starters return to the court, including NEAC All-Conference First Team honoree Megyan Merrill (Millport, N.Y.) who had 358 kills and a .255 hitting percentage in 2017. Samantha Wolf (Liverpool, N.Y.) is expected to lead the Mustangs’ defensive efforts after recording 540 digs last season while seniors Helena Hayes (St. Mary’s, Pa.) and Kim Dunkleman (Williamsville, N.Y.) will be impact players after combining for 925 assists during their junior campaign. Head Coach Fred Wallace will test his team with a tough non-conference schedule that includes four teams that qualified for the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

With the remaining three first-place votes, Gallaudet University earned 109 points to place second in the poll. While the Bison will need to find a replacement for two-time NEAC Player of the Year Darriyan Thomas, the 2018 squad returns with senior libero Raelyn Fuechtmann (South St. Paul, Minn.) and junior setter/outside hitter Adele Daniels (Austin, Texas). Fuechtmann finished 2017 with 522 digs while Daniels had 288 kills, 391 assists, 39 service aces, 298 digs and 37 total blocks during her sophomore season. After posting an 18-16 record in 2017, Lynn Ray Boren begins his 14th season as the head coach at Gallaudet with a non-conference slate that features matches against Johns Hopkins, Ramapo and Gettysburg to compliment NEAC play.

Wells College totaled 99 points and was ranked third after advancing to the NEAC Semifinals last season. NEAC Coach of the Year Mark Lucas is back for his third season with eight returners from the 2017 squad that went 8-1 in league games and 19-13 overall. NEAC Rookie of the Year Rachel Anderson (St. Louis, Mo.) is expected to play a key role this fall after a debut season that included 339 kills, 82 total blocks and a .263 hitting percentage. The Express will also seek contributions from NEAC All-Conference Third Team selection Amanda Springer (Norwood, Mass.) and junior outside hitter Jackie Allen (Syracuse, N.Y.).

After claiming the 2017 NEAC Regular Season Title, Penn State Berks lands at No. 4 in the coaches’ poll with 84 points. The Nittany Lions will lean on a pair of All-Conference First Team players in Madison Wojciechowski (Blandon, Pa.) and Megan Lackman (Morgantown, Pa.) to help replace the loss of three starters from last year’s team. Wojciechowski returns for her junior year after earning NEAC Defensive Player of the Year accolades in 2017 with 543 digs, 32 assists and 40 service aces. Berks will also see Jessie Franko return as the program’s head coach after previously serving in the same role from 2009-2012.

Lancaster Bible lands right behind the Nittany Lions to complete the top five with 83 points. First-year head coach Micah Herron will lead a Chargers’ team that is coming off a 12-20 season that included six wins against conference opponents. Junior outside hitter Ashtyn Bouslog (Randallstown, Md.) leads a group of five starters after earning All-NEAC Second Team honors in 2017 with 250 kills, 26 service aces, 192 digs and 21 total blocks. She will be supported by senior Hannah Gipe (Palatka, Fla.) and a crop of newcomers that will work to give Lancaster Bible its eighth-straight playoff berth.

The full 2018 NEAC women's volleyball preseason rankings can be found below:

Rank Institution (First-Place Votes) Total Points
1. Morrisville State (9) 118
2. Gallaudet University (3) 109
3. Wells College 99
4. Penn State Berks 84
5. Lancaster Bible 83
6. SUNY Poly 76
7. Keuka College 65
8. Penn State Abington 48
9. College of Saint Elizabeth 42
10. SUNY Cobleskill 31
11. Cazenovia College 22
12. Penn College 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the NEAC women’s volleyball coaches, with each coach ranking all teams but their own using a staggered points system (11 points for a first-place vote, 10 points for second, etc.). The 2018 NEAC women’s volleyball season will begin Friday, Aug. 31, with a full season schedule being available on the NEAC website

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has 12 NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, Morrisville State, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Wells College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (W Lacrosse), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse), Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf), and Wilson College (M Volleyball). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sport of men’s tennis and with the Colonial State Athletic Conference in the sport of Field Hockey. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.