Amherst, N.Y. – Daemen College head volleyball coach Stephanie Albano has been named as one of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Thirty Under 30 Award recipients for 2017. This award was created in 2009 to honor thirty of the up-and-coming coaches under the age of 30 at all levels of the sport.
After serving as the program's associate head coach for the 2015 season, Albano was promoted to her current role as head coach in 2016. In her first year at the helm, Albano led the Wildcats to one of the most successful seasons in program history, finishing with an overall record of 25-8. This marked the ninth time in the last 18 seasons that the Wildcats have posted 25 or more wins, and the first time it's been accomplished since the program transitioned to the NCAA Division II level.
Albano guided the Wildcats to an impressive 13-1 mark in East Coast Conference play, and the program's first ECC regular season championship last fall. Daemen earned the No. 1 seed and hosting rights for the conference tournament, marking the first time Daemen has hosted an ECC Championship tournament in any sport. The Wildcats also accomplished another Daemen Athletics first, earning a No. 1 regional ranking in the NCAA Division II East Region poll.
After a hard-fought loss in the conference tournament finals, Albano and the Wildcats received an at large-bid into the NCAA Division II Tournament. The tournament berth marked the first time a Daemen program was selected to participate in an NCAA Championship since gaining full Division II status prior to the 2015-16 academic year. Daemen was also chosen to serve as host of the eight-team East Regional pod. The Wildcats advanced to the Sweet Sixteen round, but were defeated by American International College in the regional championship match.
Albano collected other prestigious awards as a result of her leadership and the team's historic achievements during the 2016 campaign. She was voted as the ECC Coach of Year by her peers, and was also named the AVCA East Region Coach of the Year by member coaches from the East Region.
"I'm honored to be recognized as an award winner, however the award goes way beyond just myself," Albano said. "It is a credit to all the young women on the team this past year and their persistence and hard work. I also couldn't have been successful without my amazing coaching staff of Kaley Vazquez-Regan and Don Gleason. Their input and dedication to the team helped the program achieve new heights. Lastly, I'm thankful to working in a supportive athletic department."
Before coming to Daemen, Albano served as an assistant coach for the University at Buffalo women's volleyball team under the direction of head coach Reed Sunahara in 2014. In her one season on the Bulls' staff, Albano helped lead the team to an overall record of 17-15 and the program's first Mid-American Conference Tournament appearance since 2010. Her stint there came after time spent as the associate head coach at Medaille College from 2012-14, where she helped the Mavericks to their first-ever Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championship and an automatic NCAA tournament bid. Albano began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at Canisius College from 2009-10.
A Lancaster, N.Y. native, Albano helped the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to two Atlantic Coast Conference championships during her collegiate career from 2005-09.
Provided by the Daemen Sports Information Department.