HAMDEN,C onn. - The Quinnipiac University women's volleyball team was picked to finish eighth out of nine teams in the 2010 Northeast Conference Women's Volleyball Coaches' Preseason Poll, as announced by the NEC office today. The Bobcats return three of their top four players from last season with the hopes of improving on last year's record.
Long Island was tabbed as the favorite to claim its seventh consecutive title, collecting five first-place votes. Sacred Heart received four first-place votes in securing second place in the preseason poll, followed by Central Connecticut State, Robert Morris and Bryant to round-out the top five picks. Fairleigh Dickinson and Saint Francis (Pa.) were picked sixth and seventh, respectively, followed by Quinnipiac and St. Francis (N.Y.) in the final two slots.
The Bobcats finished last season at 4-25 overall and 3-13 in the Northeast Conference. The Bobcats three wins in-conference were their most since the 2005 season. Returning to the Bobcats line-up will be Kayla Lawler (Richmond, Ind.) who has amassed over 1,700 assists in two seasons at Quinnipiac, averaging close to eight assists per set over her two year career. Since coming to Quinnipiac, Lawler, the Bobats' setter, hasn't left the court, serving as their floor captain for most of last season.
Kelby Carey (Surfside Colony, Calif.) ranked among the NEC leaders in kills per game, 3.20, while leading the Bobcats. Carey totaled over 200 kills last season, while also leading the Bobcats with 23 service aces. She also ranked third on the team with 2.8 digs per set. Taylor Payne (Warwick, N.Y.) also returns to the Bobcats line-up after a summer that saw the 5-11 right-side hitter participate at International Junior High Performance team at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships.
The Bobcats also return Stephanie Biediger (Houston, Texas), who was named the team Most Valuable Player as a freshman in 2008. Biediger did not play last season due to injury. As a freshman, Biediger finished second on the team in assists and service aces while also finishing third on the team in kills, kills per set, digs and blocks. Biediger had 10 or more kills on eight separate occasions in her first season. The Bobcats also bring in a graduate school transfer in Amanda Armstrong (Waukesha, Wisc.) who played three years at the University of Maine, where she saw considerable playing time.
The Bobcats open the season at the Boston College Classic II against Holy Cross, Fordham and Boston College on Aug. 27-28. They will then play in the Yale Classic on Sept. 3-4 against Rhode Island, Yale and Stony Brook. The Bobcats follow Yale's tournament when they host St. Peter's, Dartmouth and Hartford on Sept. 10-11 for the QU Invitational and close-out their in-season tournament play on Sept. 17-18 at the Lafayette Tournament against Delaware and LaSalle.
The Bobcats host Providence on Wednesday, Sept. 22 before heading out on a three-game round trip at Bryant on Sept. 26, Sacred Heart on Sept. 29 and Fairleigh Dickinson on Oct. 3. After a pair of home matches against Robert Morris on Oct. 9 and Saint Francis (Pa.) on Oct. 10, the Bobcats are back on the road for their next four matches. They head to Holy Cross on Oct. 13, St. Francis (N.Y.) on Oct. 16, Long Island on Oct. 17 and Central Connecticut State on Oct. 23.
The Bobcats finish up the regular-season with six of their final eight games on their home court, all against Northeast Conference teams. They will host Fairleigh Dickinson on Oct. 24, Long Island on Oct. 30 and Sacred Heart on Oct. 31. Sandwiched in between are road contests at Saint Francis (Pa.) on Nov. 6 and Robert Morris on Nov. 7, before finishing up at home against Bryant on Nov. 10, St. Francis (N.Y.) on Nov. 13 and Central Connecticut State on Nov. 14.