Volleyball Selected To Finish Fifth In AE Preseason Poll

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The University of New Hampshire volleyball team, led by 16th-year head coach Jill Hirschinger, was selected to finish fifth in the 2011 America East Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released Thursday by the league office.

The University at Albany, last year's regular season and tournament champion, topped the poll with 33 points, earning three first-place votes. UMBC claimed the second spot, coming up just two tallies short of Albany with 31 points, despite three first-place votes. Binghamton picked up the final first-place vote to finish third with 25 points. Stony Brook secured the fourth spot with 23 points, while UNH earned 15 points to finish ahead of Hartford (14) and Providence (6).

The top four teams during the regular season will compete at the 2011 America East Volleyball Cham­pionship on either November 18-19 or November 19-20. The top seed will host the tournament, with the winner earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.

New Hampshire (10-17 overall, 5-7 America East in 2010) is led by a veteran group of three seniors and six upperclassmen, including two of its top hitters from last year in seniors Lauren Laquerre (Concord, N.H.) and Amy Keding (Northbrook, Ill.). Laquerre paced the team with 3.36 kills per set, while Keding was named an all-conference second-team selection with 2.97 kills, 2.08 digs and 0.63 blocks per set.

Laquerre will serve as a co-captain in 2011 along with junior setter Jansan Falcusan (Plymouth, Mich.). All-rookie selection Destiny Tolliver (Rochester, Mich.) will look to have a strong sophomore campaign after she played in 25 of 27 matches and ranked sixth in the conference with 0.81 blocks per set.

The 'Cats open up their 2011 season on Friday, Aug. 26 at the West Virginia Mountaineer Invitational with the host Mountaineers at 1:00 p.m. in Morgantown, W.Va.

2011 Preseason Poll

Rank Team (1st-place votes) Points
1 Albany (3) 33
2 UMBC (3) 31
3 Binghamton (1) 25
4 Stony Brook 23
5 New Hampshire 15
6 Hartford 14
7 Providence 6
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