Central Islip, N.Y. - In a tightly contested vote, three-time defending East Coast Conference Champion, Bridgeport, narrowly outpaced LIU Post as the coaches' favorite in the league's 2015 Volleyball Preseason Poll. Dowling senior outside hitter, Jessica Kalbfleisch (Ridge, N.Y.), earned the coaches' vote as the Preseason Player of the Year.
Despite returning both schools only returning five players from last year's rosters, Bridgeport earned four first place votes as opposed to LIU Post's three to top the Pioneers by a final tally of 73-71 in the preseason poll. The Purple Knights finished the 2014 campaign with a 26-3 record, an unblemished 16-0 mark during ECC play, and their third straight ECC title. Bridgeport also earned their seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance and hosted the NCAA East Regional Championship for the second straight season as the top seed.
LIU Post was the ECC runner-up in 2014 and also advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five seasons with a record of 20-14. Among the Pioneers five returning student-athletes are All-Conference selections, Melissa Hansen and Danielle Valenza.
Dowling received the final two first place votes to finish third in the poll. The Golden Lions saw their streak of 12 straight NCAA Tournament berths come to an end in 2014 despite finishing with a 21-9 (13-3 ECC) record.
A year ago, Kalbfleisch earned a spot on the All-Conference First Team in addition to AVCA and Daktronics All-Region honors with an outstanding junior season. She ranked second in the ECC with 380 kills and 3.76 kills per set. She also finished among the conference's top-10 with 369 digs and 3.65 digs per set. Kalbfleisch posted 18 double-doubles and topped the 1,000 career kill mark in 2014, as well.
2015 ECC Volleyball Preseason Poll
|1. Bridgeport (4)||73||26-3 (16-0 ECC)|
|2. LIU Post (3)||71||20-14 (11-5 ECC)|
|3. Dowling (2)||63||21-9 (13-3 ECC)|
|4. NYIT||51||13-17 (8-8 ECC)|
|5. Roberts Wesleyan||44||16-11 (10-6 ECC)|
|6. Daemen||35||2-27 (2-14 ECC)|
|7. Molloy||31||12-17 (6-10 ECC)|
|8. Queens||27||11-15 (5-11 ECC)|
|9. Mercy||10||5-25 (1-15 ECC)|
( ) – first place votes