NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – With the 2012 season looming, the Merrimack volleyball team was picked to finish 13th in a challenging Northeast-10 Conference, according to the Coaches Preseason Poll released Friday morning.
The Warriors, who return 10 key contributors from last year's 5-22 campaign, finished with 51 points in the poll, ahead of three other teams.
New Haven was the favorite to win the league, indicative of the 220 points and 12 first-place votes it received in the rankings, while Stonehill (204, one first-place vote) and Adelphi (203) were slotted to finish in second and third, respectively, and were separated by the slimmest of margins.
Rounding out the top four in the rankings was Pace (178 points), while both UMass-Lowell and Saint Rose finished in a tie for fifth place with 143 points apiece. Predicted to draw a seventh-place finish was Bentley (139), while AIC rounded out the top eight finishers with 131 points.
Moving into the bottom half of the standings, Franklin Pierce (117) and Southern Connecticut (116) were separated by only a point to determine the ninth- and 10th-place finishers, while Le Moyne (101) was predicted to finish 11th. Southern New Hampshire (63) was the last remaining team in front of the Warriors in 12th place.
After Merrimack, Saint Michael's (49 points) and Saint Anselm (40) were predicted to finish in 14th and 15th place, respectively, and Assumption (22) rounded out the 16-team field.
The Warriors open the 2012 campaign with four matches in the Sunshine State as part of the Sharks Classic starting with a bout against Nova Southeastern next Friday, Aug. 31, starting at 1 p.m.