Juniata Favored To Claim Landmark Volleyball Title In
Cardinals Selected Second Overall
MADISON, N.J. - The defending Landmark Conference champion Juniata College women's volleyball team has been picked to defend its conference title as selected in the Landmark Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll. The women's volleyball coaches and sports information directors at each institution that sponsors the sport were polled for the preseason ballot.
Juniata was the top selection on every ballot as the Eagles earned 66 points in the voting. The second spot in the voting was tight with The Catholic University of America collecting 51 points, narrowly edging out The University of Scranton which accumulated 50 points. Goucher College was comfortably in fourth place with 39 points.
Juniata reached the NCAA Division III semifinals after winning the Landmark Championship and finishing 37-5 overall. Reigning Division III and Landmark Player of the Year Amber Thomas is one of three returning All-Americans for the team which did not lose a single starter from a year ago. Juniata also enters the season ranked first in the CBS College Sports Network/AVCA Division III Preseason Coaches Poll.
Catholic finished second in the Landmark regular season a year ago going 5-1 in conference play and 20-15 overall. Carey Anne Nassib was a first-team All-Conference performer as a sophomore and she is one of five returning starters for the Cardinals. The team will need to replace three seniors, including an All-Conference setter.
Scranton reached the Landmark Championship match in 2007 and finished the year 25-11 overall. Seniors Jacqueline Pisano and Meaghan Curtin were both second-team All-Conference choices in 2007 and highlight the returning roster which lost only two players to graduation. The Royals will also be led by a first-year coach as Matthew Dunn takes the reins of the program.
With an 18-15 overall record in 2007, Goucher finished above .500 for the second-consecutive season and posted a 2-4 record in Landmark play.
The team lost only its starting libero to graduation, so will have six starters back including second-team All-Conference outside hitter Megan Smith.
Moravian College was hit hard by graduation and is fifth in the poll with 29 points. The Greyhounds were the fourth seed for the Landmark postseason in 2007 and finished the year 3-4 in conference and 18-13 overall. Four starters are gone, including an All-Conference choice, but reigning Landmark Rookie of the Year Mary King highlights the returning players.
With a very young roster, Susquehanna was 1-5 in Landmark play in 2007 and now is sixth in the preseason poll with 26 points. The Crusaders had only three upperclassmen a year ago when the team was 11-26 overall. The team loses only one starter from last year and bring back All-Conference performer Ainsley Catagnus.
The United States Merchant Marine Academy rounds out the polling with
12 points. The Mariners enjoyed a solid 2007 season with a 10-17 record overall while going winless in Landmark play. The team loses just one player to graduation, and brings back nearly its entire starting lineup including middle hitter Jesselyn LaValley who led the conference in points per game last season.
Most of the Landmark teams will open the season with tournament play August 29, while Landmark play will open on September 20 when Susquehanna hosts the first of two Landmark round-robins.