EDISON, New Jersey – The Quinnipiac University women's volleyball team was picked ninth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the league office on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. The Bobcats will return 10 of 15 letterwinners from a year ago as Quinnipiac looks to establish a winning tradition in its third season as a member of the conference.
Defending MAAC champ Siena has been selected as the preseason favorite, as voted by the league's 10 head coaches. The Saints finished 14-4 in league play on the way to capturing their conference-leading 9th MAAC title. Siena earned 91 points with six first place votes, beating out Fairfield and Manhattan, which tied for second in the poll with 78 points. The 2014 MAAC runner-up and regular season champion Marist finished fourth in the poll with 71 points, followed by Rider (61), Canisius (54) and Niagara (45). Rounding out the poll is Iona (32), Quinnipiac (28) and Saint Peter's (12).
|Preseason Coaches' Poll|
|Rank||Team (1st Place Votes)||Points|
The Marist duo of Amanda Schlegel and Courtney Shaw were voted as the 2015 MAAC Co-Preseason Players of the Year. Marist, Manhattan, Fairfield and Canisius all tied with two Preseason All-MAAC selections.
Quinnipiac's second season in the conference featured a trip to the 2014 MAAC Tournament hosted by the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida wherein which all 10 teams earned a spot in the postseason. At the MAAC Tournament, Quinnipiac flashed signs of brilliance as the Bobcats won the first set off Canisius in the first round match and followed that up with a tightly contested 3-2 loss to Iona in the consolation bracket.
The strength for this Bobcat team the past couple of seasons has been up the middle and the 2015 season projects to be no different. After making the 2013 MAAC All-Rookie Team, junior Allison Leigh (Palmer, Alaska) turned in another solid season at the net as she finished 3rd in the MAAC in blocks per set (1.18). For the season, Leigh totaled 127 blocks (40 solo, 87 assists) which ranks 3rd in the program's Division I single-season record books. She also ranked 2nd on the team with 186 kills and owns the best hitting percentage (.238) of any returner for the Bobcats this season.
|Preseason All-MAAC Team||Position||School|
|Lauren Siebert||Middle Hitter||Canisius|
|Kaitlyn Griffin||Middle Hitter||Rider|
|Rachel Kline||Outside Hitter||Canisius|
|Hadley Orr||Outside Hitter||Fairfield|
|Megan Theiller||Outside Hitter||Fairfield|
|Claire Van Dyk||Outside Hitter||Manhattan|
|Courtney Shaw||Outside Hitter||Marist|
|Co-Preseason Players of the Year||School|
|Courtney Shaw||Outside Hitter||Marist|
On the outside, junior Katie Urycki (Chesterton, Indiana) is coming off a breakout season in which she tallied a team-leading 262 kills to go along with 159 digs, 43 total blocks, 35 service aces, 25 assists and 0.92 hitting percentage. Urycki ranked 6th in the MAAC averaging 0.33 service aces per set while she led all the Bobcats' outside hitters in digs, hitting percentage, blocks, assists and service aces. She is the lone returning Bobcat outside hitter to compile 100+ kills last season and will be counted on for steady play and leadership on the floor.
The setter position is stocked with depth for the Bobcats as the team features a pair who both shined in their freshman seasons. Both junior Emma Ogden (Crown Point, Indiana) and sophomore Sierra Dawson (Larkspur, California) will both figure to see time as the Bobcats' distributor throughout the season. Ogden compiled 636 assists (7.7 per set), 152 digs and 34 blocks in her freshman season in 2013 but only saw five matches in 2014 as she missed the remainder of the year due to injury. Dawson filled in with a solid rookie year in 2014 as she totaled 749 assists (7.6 per set), 160 digs and 51 blocks in 28 matches.
Junior Cody Michaels (Versailles, Kentucky) put together a solid all-around season in her first year taking over the libero reigns as she posted 367 digs while playing in the most sets (119) of anyone on the team. Michaels' 367 digs last season ranks 5th on the program's Division I record list and 7th on Quinnipiac's all-time career list.
Veteran leadership is provided in the form of outside hitter Chandler Thornton (Arlington, Texas) who is the lone senior on this year's roster. Thornton served as a key defensive piece to the 2014 team as she tallied 92 digs and 31 kills will playing in all but one match last season.
Two juniors looking to make an impact after injury plagued sophomore seasons are Jamie Paolucci (Lake Mary, Florida) and Sam Alechko (Harrington Park, New Jersey). Paolucci tallied 21 kills and 13 blocks in 11 matches before her season was cut short due to injury, Alechko, meanwhile, returned to see time in five of the final six matches after having missed 27 matches prior with injury.
Several sophomore return after picking up some key experience last season. Among them include Elizabeth Kloos (Munster, Indiana) and Jamie Termotto (Smithtown, New York). Kloos, a middle hitter, was 5th on the team in 2014 with 138 kills while also sitting 2nd on the Bobcats with 76 blocks (10 solo, 66 assists) and 4th in hitting percentage (.139). Termotto was a threat from the outside as she compiled 71 kills in her rookie campaign.
Head coach Kris Czaplinski also added a group of three freshmen for the 2015 season including outside hitter Jennifer Coffey (Merrimack, New Hampshire), middle/outside hitter Claire Knust (Omaha, Nebraska), setter/right side Kat Miller (Collegeville, Pennsylvania) as well as a junior transfer Jana Kmec (Stratford, Conn) from Bryant University.
The 2015 season will open in Smithfield, Rhode Island as the Bobcats start with a match at Bryant on Friday, August 28 as part of the Hampton Inn-vitational. Matches against Iona and Holy Cross follow on Saturday, August 29.