by: Carla Pennolino
As conference play approaches shortly for the 2013 East Coast
Conference women’s volleyball squads, their preseason
competition and standings will surely play an important role in the
battle for the ECC title. After 11 days of non-conference play,
underdogs have proven themselves, dominant front-runners have
continued their reign and new faces have proven their worth in the
Winning all four of their non-conference matches, the Queens College women’s volleyball team sits comfortably in the top spot as of play through Sept. 16. After being voted to place eighth of nine teams in the ECC Preseason Poll, the underdogs have made quite a statement by easily outmatching Post, Georgian Court, Felician and St. Anselm early in 2013 competition.
Perhaps aiding the Knights is their experience on the court. With only one freshman on their roster- Tori Bowser (Pelham, N.Y.)- the mature squad has the know-how to improve drastically on their 3-24 2012 record.
Led by senior captain Ceren Kilic (Istanbul, Turkey) and sophomore standouts Bianca Steele (Massapequa, N.Y.) and Arielle DiCoco (Blue Point, N.Y.), the QC crew is a force to be reckoned with in 2013. Starting their season 4-0, the Knights have made a name for themselves rather early this season.
With an undefeated record of 2-0, the NYIT Bears are slotted number two in the conference thus far. Voted to place in that spot in the ECC preseason poll, the Bears look to make it past their semifinal 2012 outing.
Returning all four of their All-Conference award winners- Shelby Cable (DeSoto, Mo.) and Savannah Donorski (Powell, Wyo.)- First-Team outside hitters, Marija Jovanovic (Belgrade, Serbia)- Second-Team setter and Katrina Sretenovic (Belgrade, Serbia)- second-team right side- the NYIT competitors also have an experienced and standout group on the court in 2013.
With a stellar start to this season, the Bears are picking up right where they left off in 2012. Displaying their dominance in the onset of 2013, the Bears outplayed Nyack and St. Rose to earn an undefeated mark.
Third in the current 2013 standings is LIU Post with a 5-2 record. Placing fourth in the preseason poll, the Pioneers seek to advance on their ECC Championship appearance in 2012. Falling to 2012 Champions, Bridgeport, in the final contest, the Pioneers want the title they fell just two sets short of obtaining.
Returning for LIU Post is All-ECC second-team outside hitter Makamae Namahoe (Hilo, Hawaii). In 2012 Namahoe led the team with 381 kills, averaging 2.72 kills per set.
Also dominating the court for the Pioneers is newcomer Shelby McCool (Eugene, Ore.). The freshman outside hitter, in her first week of play, totaled 31 kills averaging 2.82 kills per set. She hit at a .218 clip and compiled 35 digs- her efforts earning her a Most Valuable Player award at the New Haven Invitational Tournament and the Week One ECC Rookie of the Week Award.
The Pioneers have all the components they need to snag the championship title from Bridgeport this season.
Currently in fourth place with a 4-3 record thus far is the Molloy College volleyball team. Placing seventh in the ECC preseason poll after an 8-21 2012 mark, the Lions went on to beat Philadelphia University, Post, Felician and Nyack, but fell short to Merrimack, Southern Connecticut State and Bentley in 2013 play.
In Week Two of the ECC Volleyball Reports, the Lions snagged both the Player and Rookie of the Week awards. Katie Gallagher (North Massapequa, N.Y.) was named player of the week after compiling 32 kills, 2.91 avg. kills per set, six digs, service aces and six total blocks in four matches. Rookie of the week Alley Stefanovski (North Chili, N.Y.) has stepped in as Molloy’s main setter, tallying 73 assists, seven service aces and 10 digs in her first four matches as a Lion. This dynamic duo is sure to continue their first-rate performance throughout 2013.
The Dowling College Golden Lions are currently ranked fifth with a 5-4 record in 2013. Tying with Daemen for the fifth place slot in the preseason poll, the squad finished 2012 with a respectable 20-15 outing.
After graduating their 2012 ECC Player and Libero of the Year award winners, the Golden Lions have big shoes to fill in the outside hitter and libero positions. Cassy Kelly (Fraser, Mich.), Jessica Kalbfleisch (Ridge, N.Y.) and Franki Dove (Manorville, N.Y.) are all capable outside hitters. With combined totals of 525 kills, 260 digs and 81 blocks in 2012, the three have complied impressive statistics. Kayla Morgan (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) will step in as the team’s libero. In 2012, the sophomore led the Lady Golden Lions in aces (31) and tallied 400 digs.
Outmatching Nyack, Southern Connecticut State, Caldwell, Pace and American International early in 2013, the Dowling College women’s volleyball program is off to a reputable start.
For the Mercy College Mavericks, 2013 is a chance to build on their 3-26 2012 record. Starting their season with a .500, 3-3 mark, the women’s volleyball program looks to prove the preseason poll, where they were voted to place ninth of nine, wrong.
Junior Brenna White (Gardnerville, Nev.) was named Player of the Week during Week One of the ECC Volleyball Weekly Reports. She averaged 4.81 kills and 4.00 digs per set, as the Lady Mavericks went 2-2 in the East Stroudsburg Invitational Tournament. She also posted three doubles, 21 kills and 16 digs in a 3-1 win over USciences.
With a clean slate in 2013, the Marvericks should not be overlooked as a 2013 postseason competitor.
Currently the seven seed in East Coast Conference standings is the Roberts Wesleyan volleyball squad. Posting a 2-3 record, the Redhawks outmatched Le Moyne and Bloomfield to start their 2013 outing.
Voted to place third in the ECC preseason poll, the Redhawks return 2012 All-ECC First-Team junior, Jordan Wilson (Vista, Calif.), and second-team Kendall Havener (Alipne, Calif). Wilson posted 267 kills and 65 blocks in and Havener compiled 106 blocks, 266 kills and 45 aces in 2012.
Also returning for the Roberts Wesleyan volleyball program is 2012 NCCAA East Region Second-Teamer and ECC Rookie of the Year, Maggie Concannon (Lancaster, N.Y.). The sophomore setter led the Redhawks and East Coast Conference with 1,187 assists last season and is expected to improve on this mark in 2013.
2012 ECC Coaches of the Year, Jon and Kirsten Meyers, return in their sixth season of directing the Redhawks to successful play. The husband and wife team coached the squad to a 20-12 mark last season, the best record since the two have been in charge.
As 2013 conference play approaches, the Roberts Wesleyan Redhawks look forward to their second season as an ECC competitor.
In their East Coast Conference debut, the Daemen Wildcats are currently in eighth place, posting a 1-3 record thus far. After beating Fort Valley State University three sets to none, the team looks forward to strong ECC competition in 2013.
Voted to tie for fifth with Dowling in the preseason poll, the Daemen College women’s volleyball team posted a 27-10 mark last season- earning them the USCAA National Championship.
Returning for the squad is senior setter Kaley Vazquez (Kenmore, N.Y.). In 2012, Vazquez led the Wildcats with 761 assists and also compiled 204 digs. On Nov. 2, Vazquez tallied her 2,000th career assist, becoming the fourth player in program history to do so.
Junior Ye Wang (Beijing, China) will also return as a middle blocker for the Wildcats this season. In 2012, Wang was named to the USCAA National Championship All-Tournament team after 54 kills and 24 blocks in seven matches. She was also named to the USCAA All-American and ICAA second-team after leading the team in blocks and hitting percentage, 119 and .362, respectively.
The Wildcats, fresh off an incredible 2012, look to prove themselves as a top competitor in their inaugural ECC season.
The University of Bridgeport women’s volleyball team’s first match this season was postponed due to a power outage at Southern Connecticut State, thus currently seeding them last with a 0-0 record in 2013. The 2012 ECC women’s volleyball champions (27-5) were picked to place first in this seasons’ preseason poll with 79 votes.
The Purple Knights’ Ying Shen (Nanjing, China) was selected as the 2013 Preseason Player of the Year. The junior outside hitter was selected to the ECC All-Conference First-Team, an AVCA All-America Honorable Mention and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the ECC Championship.
Also returning for the squad is junior outside hitter Biljana Savic (Novi Sad, Serbia) and junior middle blocker Larissa Oliveria (Belo Horizonte, Brazil). Savic was named as a 2012 All-Conference First-Team honoree and Oliveria was named to the Second-Team.
As reigning champions, the Bridgeport University women’s volleyball squad also looks to advance to their fifth straight NCAA Division II East Regional Final in 2013. Could the Purple Knights grab their third title in five years this season?
As conference play nears, so does the anxiousness and determination for these nine women’s volleyball teams. Although Bridgeport is the favorite to win their second straight ECC title, the crown is up for grabs. Each team has the ingredients for a successful season and it will be interesting to see how the 2013 season plays out.