Under the direction of first-year head coach Jeff Costa, the Merrimack College women’s volleyball program returned to campus this week to begin preseason camp ahead of the 2017 campaign.
Seniors Christina Nye (Plaistow, N.H.) and Mary Kate McCarroll (Harrison, Ohio)step into captaincy roles entering their final seasons. Nye served as Merrimack’s primary libero last season, leading the team in digs (421) and digs per set (3.97). As a middle hitter, McCarroll set career highs in kills (203) and total blocks (45) as a junior.
A three-player junior class featuring Sofia Basauri (Beaverton, Ore.), Amanda Cain(Melrose, Mass.) and Katelynn Marr (Franklin, Mass.) will step into larger roles as upper classmen. All three players appeared in at least 20 matches last season with Cain playing in 28 of 29 contests as a defensive specialist. Sophomore Catherine Flaherty (North Andover, Mass.) leads a core group of four players entering their second season that will see expanded roles in 2017.
All 28 of Merrimack’s matches will be in regional play this season, beginning with a four-match tournament on Long Island during Labor Day Weekend.
The Warriors were picked 13th in Tuesday’s NE10 Coaches Poll.
The defending regional champions in American International College (185) edged out defending conference champion New Haven (178), Le Moyne (166) and Adelphi (160). The Yellow Jackets collected eight of a possible 15 first-place votes, while four went to the Chargers and three were given to the Panthers.
Pace (139) rounded out the top-five, followed by Saint Anselm (129) in sixth place and Bentley (128) in seventh. Franklin Pierce was selected as the final team to reach the NE10 Championship with 98 points awarded, as the top-eight programs advance to the conference tournament.
Stonehill (96) kicked off the bottom half of the poll in ninth place, followed by Southern New Hampshire (72), Southern Connecticut (65) and Saint Rose (64). The Warriors slotted in after the Golden Knights, in front of Assumption (41) and Saint Michael’s (20).
First-year head coach Jeff Costa and the Navy and Gold are currently in the midst of preseason camp, with their first matches occurring on Labor Day Weekend. Merrimack will travel to Long Island to play four matches hosted at Molloy College and LIU Post, beginning with a pair of contests on Friday, Sept. 1, against the host Lions at 3 p.m. and Chestnut Hill at 5 p.m.
2017 NE10 Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
First-place votes in ()
1) American International – 185 (8)
2) New Haven – 178 (4)
3) Le Moyne – 166
4) Adelphi – 160 (3)
5) Pace – 139
6) Saint Anselm – 129
7) Bentley – 128
8) Franklin Pierce – 98
9) Stonehill – 96
10) Southern N.H. – 72
11) Southern Conn. – 65
12) Saint Rose – 64
13) Merrimack – 42
14) Assumption – 41
15) Saint Michael’s – 20