Poll week continued in the Northeast Conference (NEC) on Wednesday as the Merrimack College women’s volleyball program learned it was selected ninth in the NEC’s 2019 preseason poll.
The preseason rankings were conducted based on a vote by the NEC’s nine head coaches; four programs received at least one first-place vote with Sacred Heart claiming the top spot. Long Island University finished second despite receiving one nod for the two spot while Central Connecticut and Bryant came in third and fourth, respectively, receiving two top-spot billings each.
Robert Morris, St. Francis Brooklyn, Saint Francis University and Fairleigh Dickinson arrived in spots No. 5-8. Merrimack will play a full conference schedule, but will not be eligible for postseason play as the Warriors begin their first year of a four-year reclassification period.
Head coach Jeff Costa directs the program in his third year on Merrimack’s sidelines. The Warriors return an impressive core of players headlined by senior captains Catherine Flaherty and Rosie Sperduto. Flaherty returns after leading Merrimack in points and kills as a junior as the Warriors’ top attacking player. Sperduto was the program’s starting setter for the past two years, leading Merrimack with nearly seven assists per set over 12 matches.
The Warriors begin the 2019 season on Wednesday, Sept. 4, against Providence College for their inaugural Division I match against a Big East institution. The program’s first NEC match arrives on Friday, Sept. 27, at Robert Morris (7 p.m.) while Merrimack hosts Bryant on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Hammel Court for its home opener.