Rivier Women's Volleyball picked #1 in Pre-Season Coaches Poll

Rivier Women's Volleyball picked #1 in Pre-Season Coaches Poll

Release Courtesy of GNAC Sports Information

BOSTON, Mass. – Rivier University received 138 total points and nine first place votes to land in the top spot of the 2013 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Volleyball Pre-Season Coaches' Poll. Johnson & Wales University garnered the other three first place votes, finishing second with 124 points while Simmons College was not far behind with 116 points in third. Saint Joseph's College (ME) collected 109 points in fourth while Emmanuel College rounded out the program's receiving more than 100 points, ranking fifth with 103 points.

After posting an 11-1 regular season mark last year in GNAC play, the Raiders will look to avenge a loss in the GNAC Finals to Emerson College (3-1). Unfortunately for Rivier, they won't be able to go through the Lions to get to the top because Emerson has left the GNAC to join the NEWMAC Conference. RIV returns senior middle hitter Nicole Peacock and sophomore setter Emily O'Reilly, both who were main cogs in last year's squad. The Raiders will miss the presence of 2013 grad Kenna Finlayson who was the 2011 and 2012 GNAC Player of the Year.

Johnson & Wales will look to build off of an encouraging 2012 campaign in which they posted 14 wins and an 8-4 mark in the GNAC. The Wildcats return the 2012 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year in senior Giselle Cram-Ortiz but say goodbye to their offensive leader from a year ago, Karlie Haack.

Simmons College returns just five players from its 2012 roster including the veteran senior trio of Nafeesa Connolly, Rossi Fish and Megan Chamberlin. The Sharks welcome five newcomers to round of their 2013 lineup and will look to make another run in the GNAC tourney.

Like the teams above them, Saint Joseph's College (ME) said goodbye to their top hitter in 2012 as Sarah Hawkes graduated as did setter Kiah Begley leaving a few spots to fill. The Monks return Felicia Wachowiak in the middle who earned All-GNAC Second Team honors last year.

Emmanuel welcomes its largest freshman class in over a decade with 10 first years on the roster. The young Saints will look to make some noise in the league without one senior on the roster and try to help Head Coach Denitra Seals capture her 100th victory along the way as she enters the season just two shy of the milestone.

Lasell College captured the sixth spot in the poll with 76 points while their Mount Ida College neighbors were seventh with 67 points. Norwich University was right on their heels with 64 points in eighth place.

With 48 points, Suffolk University placed ninth and University of Saint Joseph (CT) was in 10th with 44 points. Albertus Magnus College notched 31 points in the 11th spot while Anna Maria College rounded out the poll with 16 points in the 12th position.

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference is an NCAA Division III conference made up of 12 institutions with nine associate members. In 2013-14, the GNAC will sponsor championships in 17 sports for men and women. The GNAC also enjoys outstanding professional partnerships with Children's Hospital Sports Medicine Division, Doubletree Hotels, Fenway Printers, New Balance, Reading Trophy and Presto Sports.

2013 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Volleyball Pre-Season Coaches' Poll

(Rank) Institution           First Place Votes  Total Points

(1) RIVIER UNIVERSITY           9                         138

(2) Johnson & Wales Univ.     3                         124

(3) Simmons College                                          116

(4) Saint Joseph's College                                 109

(5) Emmanuel College                                        103

(6) Lasell College                                               76

(7) Mount Ida College                                         67

(8) Norwich University                                         64

(9) Suffolk University                                           48

(10) University of Saint Joseph                            44

(11) Albertus Magnus College                             31

(12) Anna Maria College                                      16