Juniata Tops Volleyball Preseason Poll
MADISON, N.J. – For the first three year of Landmark Conference volleyball competition Juniata College has been the team to beat having claimed three conference titles and not dropping a match in regular season play. It is a trend that is expected to continue in 2010 as Juniata earned the top spot in the 2010 Landmark Preseason Women's Volleyball Poll. The head women's volleyball coaches and sports information directors at each institution that sponsors the sport were polled for the preseason ballot.
The Eagles were the clear top choice among the voters earning 70 points in the voting to sit eight points ahead of the second-place team. That second-place spot belongs to Susquehanna University which finished with 62 points in the voting. The Catholic University of America was comfortably in the third spot posting 51 points which was 13 ahead of the fourth-place team.
Juniata reached the NCAA Championship match last season and finished with a record of 36-4 overall and claiming its third Landmark crown. The team lost an All-American and two All-Conference pick but All-American setter Steph Strauss leads a group of four returning All-Conference players
Susquehanna was second in the regular season and made its second-straight appearance in the Landmark Championship match. Two-time All-Conference choice Lindsey Jankiewicz is one of four returning All-Conference players for the Crusaders who lost just two starters from last year's 25-12 squad.
Catholic enjoyed a bounce back season last year, raising its win total by 16 to finish 24-14 overall and 4-2 in Landmark play with a young squad. A pair of starters graduated from the team but the remaining starters are back led by All-Conference libero Kristina Purcell and leading attacker Claudia Jean.
The voting was tight at the fourth and fifth spot with Goucher College sitting in fourth with 38 points. Starting setter Claire Sauvage-Mar is back to direct the Gopher offense after the team went 3-3 in conference play last year and posted its third-straight record of .500 or better.
Moravian College is just four behind the Gophers with 34 points after a 15-18 season with a roster that did not have a senior. All-Conference middle hitter Mary King anchors the lineup that welcomes back all of the starters from last season.
The votes were tight at the sixth and seventh positions as well with The University of Scranton placing sixth with 20 points. Sophomore Jenell McFadden led the Royals in kills as a freshman and is one of five returning starters for the team which will be under the direction of new head coach John Bedell.
The United States Merchant Marine Academy also has a new head coach as James Seitelman takes over the program which finished seventh in the voting with 19 points. The Mariners lost a pair of seniors to graduation, including an All-Conference pick, but had four starters back led by setter Jenna Palaschak.
Two Landmark teams will open the season with matches on September 1, while all seven teams will be on the court with tournament play over the first weekend of the season. The first Landmark action of the season will take place on Oct. 2 when Susquehanna hosts the first of two Landmark Round-Robins.