COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team placed 15th in the Northeast-10 Conference's preseason coaches' poll, which was released earlier today and chosen by the member institutions' head coaches. The Purple Knights totaled 20 points, while American International College topped the 15-team rankings with 185 points. AIC advanced to the NCAA Tournament national quarterfinals in 2016.
Saint Michael's went 3-16 overall and 1-13 in the league last season, including picking up a 3-1 non-league victory over NE10 foe Southern New Hampshire University, which was slotted 10th in the preseason rankings. Four first-years join a squad that counts 10 returners. In her first season at the Division II level, junior Gabby Ratte (Kula, Hawaii/Seabury Hall/Colby-Sawyer) registered a team-best 149 kills to go along with 84 digs, and senior Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) put down 127 kills. Sophomore Jordan Dean (Gilford, N.H./Gilford) added 112 kills and 77 digs.
As part of a two-setter system, junior Sarah Rodgers (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) handed out 230 assists with 89 digs in addition to dropping 13 aces. Senior McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) totaled a team-high 36 blocks, and classmate Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) had 196 digs, good for second on the squad.
In their second season under head coach Jesse Carpenter, the Purple Knights open the season at the Gannon (Pa.) University/Mercyhurst (Pa.) University Invitational in Erie, Pa., on Sept. 8-9, taking on the two hosts as well as the University of Findlay (Ohio) and Hillsdale (Mich.) College. It will be the Purple and Gold's first out-of-region tournament against Division II schools since 2008, when it visited Mercyhurst for the four-match Laker Invitational. Saint Michael's hosts Middlebury College for its home opener on Sept. 19 before beginning NE10 play at Bentley University three days later.