CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The University of New Hampshire volleyball team, led by 17th-year head coach Jill Hirschinger, was selected to finish fourth in the 2012 America East Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released Tuesday by the league office.
Two-time defending champion Albany topped the poll with 35 total points, including five first-place votes. Stony Brook secured the second spot with 29 points and one first-place tally, while UMBC earned the final first-place vote to finish third with 24 points. After UNH (23), Binghamton and Hartford tied for fifth with 15 points apiece, while Providence rounded out the field with six points.
The top four teams in the standings at the end of the regular season will qualify for the 2012 America East Championship, which will take place at the top seed on Nov. 16 and 17 or 17 and 18. The tournament champion will receive an automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Volleyball Championship.
New Hampshire (10-20, 8-4) matched its best America East record since 2007 last year and will have eight returnees and seven newcomers on its 2012 roster. A pair of second-team all-conference choices will lead UNH this season. Senior Jansan Falcusan (Plymouth, Mich.) was fifth among league leaders in assists (8.71 aps) while junior Morgan Thatcher (Brockton, Mass.) averaged 3.16 kills per set in league play.
The 'Cats open their 2012 season on Friday, Aug. 24 at the Villanova Classic against Robert Morris at 5 p.m.
2012 Volleyball Preseason Poll
||Team (first-place votes)
|2||Stony Brook (1)||29|