BOSTON, Mass. – The Coast Guard volleyball team, under the direction of first-year head coach Aylene Ilkson, has been picked to finish fourth in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference, as voted by the coaches in the preseason poll announced by the conference.
The Bears finished last season with an overall mark of 18-14 (6-3 NEWMAC) following a first round victory over WPI in the NEWMAC quarterfinals before falling regular season champion Wellesley in the semi-finals.
Springfield was voted number one in the inaugural preseason poll as the Pride received seven of the 11 first-place votes from the coaches. Wellesley, which sported a perfect 9-0 mark in league play a year ago, registered three first-place votes and was second in the poll. Defending tournament champion, MIT, was third and listed at the top of one ballot.
Coast Guard Academy landed fourth in the rankings, with Babson College following behind in fifth. Emerson College is ranked sixth as the Lions prepare for their inaugural season in the league, after becoming the 11th member of the NEWMAC on July 1.
WPI comes in at seven while Wheaton College and Smith College follow in eighth and ninth-place, respectively. Clark University was 10th and Mount Holyoke College rounded out the poll in 11th.
The Bears will open the season on Friday, August 30 as they host Eastern Connecticut in the Bear Invitational. Conference play will begin on September 14 when Coast Guard travels to Springfield. The NEWMAC championship will take place November 5-10.
NEWMAC Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll
Rank Team (First place votes)
1. Springfield (7)
2. Wellesley (3)
3. MIT (1)
4. Coast Guard
11. Mount Holyoke