WINTHROP, Mass. - The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's volleyball team was picked to finish twelfth in the 2018 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Preseason Coaches' Poll announced Wednesday by the league's front office. The annual poll is voted upon by the conference's 13 head coaches. With a young team, eighth-year Head Coach Dejshona George has a lot of potential for the future. The Blue Jays will open their 2018 season at home in the O'Connell Center with a tri-match against Bay Path and UMass Dartmouth on Saturday, September 1. The first match is slated for 11:00 a.m.
Following a banner year in 2017, Johnson & Wales University (RI) won 35 straight matches and claimed its third consecutive GNAC title. The Wildcats were also victorious at the NCAA Providence Regional a year ago, making it to the Elite Eight in Grand Rapids, Mich., and have swept the board garnering all 13 first-place votes to make them the unanimous favorite in the 2018 GNAC Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll.
JWU checked in at No. 6 in the country in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III Preseason Poll and collected 169 points overall in the GNAC Preseason Poll. Simmons College gathered 13 second-place votes for 156 points, and Rivier University accounted for all 13 third-place votes to earn 143 points.
Lassell and Regis (Mass.) rounded out the top-five in the poll with 116 and 103 points, respectively. The newest member of the GNAC, Colby-Sawyer College, finished sixth in the rankings with 99 points.
Suffolk University, led by new head coach Scott Blanchard, came in right behind Colby-Sawyer with 97 points, while Saint Joseph's College of Maine placed eighth with 97 points.
Making up the remainder of the poll was Emmanuel in ninth with 74 poll points followed by Albertus Magnus (51), Norwich (41), the Blue Jays (25), and Anna Maria (22).
2018 GNAC Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. Johnson & Wales (13) - 169
2. Simmons - 156
3. Rivier - 143
4. Lasell - 116
5. Regis (Mass.) - 103
6. Colby-Sawyer - 99
7. Suffolk - 97
8. Saint Joseph's (Maine) - 87
9. Emmanuel - 74
10. Albertus Magnus - 51
11. Norwich - 41
12. Saint Joseph (Conn.) - 25
13. Anna Maria - 22
About the GNAC
Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement.