Volleyball Tabbed First in America East Preseason Poll

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. – The University at Albany volleyball team was picked to finish first in the America East by the league’s coaches when the conference released its preseason poll on Thursday. The Great Danes have taken the regular season championship in each of the last five seasons and have won the tournament title three of the last five years.

The Great Danes received three first-place votes in the preseason poll to total 37 for the top spot. Binghamton came in a close second with 36 total points and two first-place votes, and UMBC totaled 35 points to finish third.

UAlbany finished the 2012 season 14-15 (10-2 America East) and fell to Binghamton in the America East Championship finals.

Head coach MJ Engstrom will lead a young Great Danes squad into America East play against Binghamton on Sept. 29 at University Gym. Engstrom added nine newcomers to the roster in the off-season and returns four letterwinners from last year’s squad.

The Great Danes return 2013 Defensive Specialist of the Year Viktoriia Stroilo, who led the league in 2012 with 560 digs and 5.33 digs per game. The Luhansk, Ukraine native continued a tradition of talented defensive specialists at UAlbany, taking home the award for the Great Danes for the fifth time in six years. Former All-American Laurie Gonzalez was a four-time America East Defensive Specialist of the Year. Stroilo ranks fourth all-time in program history in single season digs.

UAlbany also returns 2012 America East All-Rookie selection Tatum Jungsten. The sophomore led the team in total blocks last season with 70.

The Great Danes open their season at the Loyola Marymount Invitational on August 30, and play their first home match on Saturday, Sept. 29 against Binghamton.

2013 America East Volleyball Preseason Poll:

Rank

Team (first-place votes)

Points

1.

UAlbany (3)

37

2.

Binghamton (2)

36

3.

UMBC (1)

35

4.

New Hampshire (1)

29

5.

Stony Brook

25

6.

Hartford

17

7.

Providence

11

8.

UMass-Lowell

6