West Babylon, N.Y. - Daemen and Molloy, the past two East Coast Conference champions, tied for the top spot in the league's Volleyball Preseason Poll released on Thursday afternoon. Molloy junior middle Kacey Affrunti (Levittown, N.Y.), has also been voted by the conference's coaches as the ECC Preseason Player of the Year.
Daemen, the defending ECC Champion, and Molloy, the 2017 ECC Champion, finished tied with three first-place votes and 33 points apiece in the coaches' voting. The two squads met in the final of last year's ECC Championship, with Daemen completing the season sweep for their first-ever conference title.
Both teams, which also earned bids to the NCAA Championship a year ago, return veteran rosters stacked with talent. Daemen has three All-Conference honorees back this fall including Tirzah Peters, Meghan Ballou, and the reigning ECC Co-Setter of the Year, Isa McCaffrey. Molloy has five All-Conference selections on this year's roster; Affrunti, Carly Banks, Sophia Smith (who shared the ECC Co-Setter of the Year honor), Jessica Fischetti, and LIU Post transfer Kassie Akouri-Tejedor.
Affrunti claims the Preseason Player of the Year award after a dominating 2018 campaign. She ranked among the top-five in the ECC with 316 kills, 3.07 kills per set, 3.8 points per set, a .283 hitting percentage, 55 block assists, and 43 service aces. Her outstanding play earned her a spot on the ECC All-Conference First Team and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-East Region Teams.
Bridgeport comes in at No. 3 in the poll with 21 points. The Purple Knights continued their ECC-high streak of consecutive ECC Championship appearances a season ago, with their 16th straight bid. Mercy rounds out the expected ECC Championship participants in the No. 4 spot. If the Mavericks were to advance to the conference tournament, it would be their first appearance since 2008.
2019 ECC Volleyball Preseason Poll
|T1. Daemen (3)||33||21-11 (13-1 ECC)|
|T1. Molloy (3)||33||20-9 (11-3 ECC)|
|3. Bridgeport||21||14-13 (8-6 ECC)|
|4. Mercy||20||14-17 (6-8 ECC)|
|5. Roberts Wesleyan||11||6-18 (4-10 ECC)|
|6. Queens||8||1-25 (0-14 ECC)|
( ) - first place votes