Volleyball Voted Third in 2018 NAC Preseason Poll

Photo by Monty Rand Photography
Photo by Monty Rand Photography

WATERVILLE, Maine -The Husson Eagles were predicted to land in third place based on the 2018 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) volleyball preseason coaches poll. The Eagles recieved 25 points in the poll. 

Maine Maritime Academy was selected to repeat as the NAC volleyball champions in the 2018 preseason poll. The Mariners received a total of 35 points and five of the six first place votes to top the league.

Newcomer to the NAC, SUNY Canton, was selected in the second spot with 30 points and one first place vote. Closing out the votes were UMaine-Presque Isle (17), Northern Vermont-Johnson (16) and Northern Vermont-Lyndon (15).

Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head volleyball coaches.


2018 NAC Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll

   Team                    Points (First Place Votes)
 1. Maine Maritime 35 (5)
 2. SUNY Canton 30 (1)
 3. Husson 25
 4. UMaine-Presque Isle 17
 5. NVU-Johnson 16
 6. NVU-Lyndon  15


Changes in conference membership open the door for a new championship field in 2018. Four of six 2017 tournament teams, New England College, Castleton University, Colby-Sawyer College and Green Mountain College, are playing in different conferences this year and the NAC welcomes new member institutions SUNY Canton and UMaine-Presque Isle to the court. New England College beat Castelton 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-14) while Colby-Sawyer topped Green Mountain 3-0 (25-3, 25-12, 25-19) in last year's quarterfinal matches. Returning teams Husson and Maine Maritime earned byes for the 2017 quarterfinals, setting them up for semifinal matches. Maine Maritime defeated New England College 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-17) in the first semifinal before Husson fell to Colby-Sawyer 3-0 (25-14, 27-25, 25-14). Maine Maritime beat Colby-Sawyer 3-1 (25-21, 14-25, 25-18, 25-13) for the championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament where they fell in the first round against MIT (3-0; 25-15, 25-13, 25-16).

Five of the six NAC women's volleyball teams start the season this weekend. The top four teams in the regular-season conference standings will qualify for the NAC tournament, which gets underway Friday, November 2 at the top seeded institution. The final four format will see No. 1 vs No. 4 and No. 2 vs No. 3 on Friday with the winners facing off in a championship match on Saturday, November 3.

Click HERE to view the 2018 NAC Volleyball composite schedule.


2018 NAC Volleyball Previews

For more information on each team, click the school name to be directed to the volleyball section of each school's website.

1. Maine Maritime Academy (20-13, 7-0 NAC). 2015 Co-Coach of the Year and 2016 & 2017 NAC Coach of the Year, Tricia Carver returns for her sixth season at the helm of the two-time and defending North Atlantic Conference Champion Mariners. 2017 NAC Player of the Year Alexa Cacacie (Manahawkin, N.J.) returns for her junior season, along side the 2017 NAC Rookie of the Year Jessica D'Auria (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.). Two-time NAC Defensive Player of the Year Maria Perez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) returns for her junior season along with teammates Sydney Adams (Trumbull, Conn.) who earned 2017 NAC First Team honors and Maggie MacMahon (Boise, Idaho) who was named to the Second Team All-NAC. With a challenging non-conference schedule to prepare the team for conference place, the Mariners look to defend their NAC Title and return to the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight season. Maine Maritime opens at home with matches against instate foes University of New England and St. Joseph's College on September 1.



2. SUNY Canton (12-21 in 2017) Head Coach Danielle Swanston enters her third season at the helm for the Roos. The Roos return Marissa Ixtlahuac (Carthage, N.Y.) and Melissa McMaster (Pittsford, N.Y.) who both eclipsed the 200 kill plateau a season ago. The team also welcomes back its starting setter and libero in Peyton Robinson (Bloomfield, N.Y.) and Jenna Roat (Penfield, N.Y.). Robinson led the team with 931 assists a season ago and was second with 290 digs. Meanwhile, Roat paced the Roos with 520 digs and 59 service aces. SUNY Canton won the inaugural ACAA championship in 2017 where they swept both of their opponentsThe Roos open the 2018 season with at Tournament at Plattsburgh State August 31.


3. Husson (16-11, 6-1 NAC) Husson will see the program's winningest coach, Pat DeBeck return for his 14th season at the helm of the Eagle's program on a interim bases in 2018. He will welcome back most of the team that finished in second place in the regular season standings last season. Hanna Hembrow (Milford, N.H.), a 2016 All-NAC First Team selection, returns for her junior season after leading the Eagles in assists (386) and assists per match with 4.59 last season. The Eagles will strive for a return trip to the NAC tournament and look to capture their first NAC championship in program history. Husson opens their 43rd season on September 1st as they travel to Worcester, Mass. take on Clark (Mass.) and WPI in the Worcester City Tournament.      

4. UMaine-Presque Isle (11-22) Jonathon Bowman returns for his 3rd season at the helm of the Owls Volleyball program. In his short tenure at UMPI the Volleyball team has grown in leaps and bounds. The 11 wins in 2017 mark the best record for the Owls in recent history. Rising sophomore Miranda Washinawatok (Shawano, WI) was named to the 2017 First Team, and also received Freshman of the Year honors. Washinawatok led the Owls with 256 kills, which was good for fourth overall in the ACAA. Also returning is sophomere Maddi Thweatt (Middleton, ID), 2017 Honorable Mention. She led the Owls with 264 digs, the ninth best total in conference. The Owls first match is September 5 at UMaine-Machias.


5. Northern Vermont-Johnson (0-20, 0-7 NAC) Head coach Keven John enters his first season at Johnson. The Badgers will be led on the court by junior Kim Reville (Burke, N.Y.). Promising newcomers include Nikola Knapova (Fairfax, Va.), Brook Scheier (Milford, N.J.), and Julie Vanetten (Montrose, Pa.). With growth from returners and the addition of talented first year players, the Badgers are looking to make significant impact in conference play. The Badgers open at home against MCLA August 31 before heading into a weekend tournament at Southern Vermont College.



6. Northern Vermont-Lyndon (2-17, 1-6 NAC) Sean Fisher returns for his 13th season as the Hornet's head coach. Senior returnees Faith Richard (Acushnet, Mass.), Sam Theriault (West Ossipee, N.H.), and Alexis Walker (Groton, Conn.) are expected to lead the Hornets. Richard recorded a team leading 37 kills and 72 digs a year ago, while Walker posted a team best 18 assists. Freshman Emily Clancy (Durham, Conn.) leads a promising group of newcomers who are expected to bring new energy to the program. The Hornets open on the road with a trimatch at New England College with Fitchburg State on September 1.