DURHAM, N.H.- The University of New Hampshire is the preseason favorite to finish as America East volleyball champions, according to a vote of the conference's head coaches.

The Wildcats received five first-place votes for a total of 77 points. Hofstra was picked second with three first place votes and 74 total points. Rounding out the top five were Northeastern (64, one first-place vote), Delaware (47) and Hartford (43). Drexel (38), Towson (32), Maine (20) and Vermont (10) close out the preseason poll.

UNH finished the 1999 campaign with a 24-12 record overall and second place in the league with a 12-2 mark. The Wildcats have the luxury of returning three second team all-conference selections in Stacy Barnett (Crystal Lake, Ill.), Jillian Ross (Naperville, Ill.) and Jennifer Walker (Fulton, N.Y.).

The Wildcats begin the 2000 season when they host the UNH Invitational on Sept. 1-2 at Lundholm Gymnasium.

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