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Courtesy: CAA
Delaware was selected as the CAA preseason favorite.

DELAWARE TABBED AS PRESEASON FAVORITE FOR CAA VOLLEYBALL TITLE IN 2011

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 08/16/2011
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RICHMOND, Va. (August 17, 2011) - Delaware, which has captured three of the last four CAA volleyball titles, has been chosen as the favorite to take the title again in 2011 according to a vote by the league's head coaches.

The Blue Hens received five first-place votes and 72 points to earn the top spot, but four other teams also received at least one first-place vote in the preseason poll. James Madison was chosen second in the poll, receiving two first-place votes and 67 overall points. Northeastern earned a first-place vote and 62 points to rank third. VCU was picked fourth after garnering 60 points and a first-place vote. George Mason notched fifth with 53 points and also picked up a first place vote. Georgia State was sixth in the poll, followed by William & Mary and Towson, who tied for seventh, with Hofstra and UNC Wilmington rounding out the preseason poll.

Delaware returns three starters from last season's 26-5 team that won the CAA championship and finished atop the regular season standings with a 13-1 record. Leading the Blue Hens this season will be a pair of all-conference performers in junior outside hitter Alissa Alker and senior outside hitter Kim Stewart. Alker, a third-team All-CAA performer, ranked fifth in the CAA in points, averaging 3.62 per set, and was seventh in the conference in kills per set (3.10). Stewart was a second-team All-CAA selection in 2009 and served up 35 aces and ranked third on the squad with 302 kills last season.

James Madison also has two all-conference honorees that will lead the charge this season. Junior outside hitter Danielle Erb earned second-team All-CAA honors in 2010 after leading the conference with 3.41 kills per set and ranking third in the CAA with 44 service aces. Junior Natalie Abel tied for the team lead with 307 digs and received third-team All-CAA accolades. Also back for the Dukes is sophomore Katie Daorai, who tied Abel with 307 digs on her way to garnering CAA All-Rookie honors last season.

Northeastern will look to build on its 19-11 record and CAA championship match appearance from last season. The Huskies feature 2010 CAA Co-Rookie of the Year, Janelle Tucker, who recorded 348 kills, 320 digs and 24 service aces last season. Sophomore setter Ina Kamenova is also back after recording 621 assists and 203 digs for the Huskies in 2010.

Also in the hunt for the CAA title will be VCU, who returns CAA All-Rookie setter Ciara Brown. Brown led the Rams with 794 assists last season, which ranked seventh in the conference. Junior Marisa Low, who was fourth in the conference with 475 digs last season, is also back for VCU. Rams outside hitter Kristen Boyd earned CAA All-Tournament consideration last year and finished second on the squad with 302 kills.

George Mason, which won the 2009 CAA title, returns five starters. Leading the group are senior outside hitter Noelle Fanella and sophomore outside hitter Lana Zonjic. Fanella earned second-team All-CAA status last season and ranked second in the conference in service aces per set (0.40). Zonjic was the CAA Co-Rookie of the Year and ranked third for the Patriots with 255.5 points, including 212 kills and 214 digs. Also returning is senior middle blocker Kelsey Bohman, who topped the conference with 122 blocks, which ranked 12th in the nation.


2011 CAA VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL

1.

Delaware (5 first-place votes)

72

2.

James Madison (2 first-place votes)

67

3.

Northeastern (1 first-place vote)

62

4.

VCU (1 first-place vote)

60

5.

George Mason (1 first-place vote)

53

6.

Georgia State

45

7.

Towson

32

7.

William & Mary

32

9.

Hofstra

17

10.

UNC Wilmington

10

(Teams received 9 points for a first-place vote, 8 for second, etc. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.)

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