Two-time AVCA All-East Region selection Delia Phillips will look to lead Stonehill to a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance this season.
Skyhawks seeking second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015
EASTON, Mass. (August 27, 2015) – Coming off its best Northeast-10 Conference finish in program history last fall, the Stonehill College volleyball team has been picked fourth in the 2015 NE-10 Preseason Coaches' Poll, the league office announced today. Stonehill received 148 points in a vote of the league's 15 head coaches.
The University of New Haven, which has claimed four of the past seven NE-10 championships, was selected as the preseason favorite with 188 points and nine of the 15 first-place votes. Just one point separated the 2014 conference champion Adelphi University (172) from last fall's runner-up, Bentley University (171), in second and third place, respectively, while the two programs split the six remaining first-place tallies. Rounding out the top-five in the poll is the College of Saint Rose, which received one point fewer than Stonehill (147).
The 2014 NE-10 campaign saw New Haven, Stonehill and Bentley finish in a three-way tie atop the league standings with matching 11-3 records, as the Skyhawks claimed a share of their first regular season conference title in program history. Stonehill, which posted an overall mark of 21-8, reached the semifinal round of the NE-10 Tournament for the second consecutive season before earning the program's second NCAA Tournament bid.
The Skyhawks will be led again this fall by senior outside hitter Delia Phillips (St. James, New York/Smithtown East), a 2014 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Honorable Mention All-American and two-time AVCA All-East Region selection. Phillips racked up the second-highest kill total in the NE-10 last season (357), good for 3.34/set while also averaging 2.71 digs/frame. She turned in 13 double-double performances (10+ kills/10+digs) in 29 matches last fall, including a 22-kill, 17-dig effort in Stonehill's 3-1 win over Southern New Hampshire University in the NE-10 Tournament quarterfinals.
Junior Taylor Stevens will take over as Stonehill's setter in 2015.
Also expected to play a big role is senior outside hitter Kelsey Weymouth (North Attleboro, Massachusetts/North Attleboro), who ranked second on the team with 2.35 kills/set to go with 2.13 digs/set and 28 service aces in 2014. Phillips and Weymouth have been named co-captains by first-year head coach Kathleen Colpoys heading into the upcoming season.
Junior Taylor Stevens (Foster, Rhode Island/Ponaganset) will take over setting duties following the departure of Emily Iverson (Elmhurst, Illinois/York), who graduated in May after earning AVCA Honorable Mention All-America and NE-10 Player of the Year honors while breaking the program's all-time assist record last fall. Stevens did a nice job filling in for an injured Iverson during her freshman season in 2013, totaling 529 assists (5.04/set) and earning an NE-10 Setter of the Week award.
Sophomore libero Claire Manuszak (Indianapolis, Indiana/Bishop Chatard), a 2014 NE-10 All-Rookie team selection, will anchor the Stonehill defense this season after playing in all 29 matches and a team-high 111 sets in 2014. Manuszak led the Skyhawks with 361 digs (3.25/set), registering 10+ digs in 17 of Stonehill's 26 regular season matches, including 15+ digs on 11 occasions and 20+ digs twice. Sophomore middle blocker Katherine DeLanty (Smithtown, New York/Smithtown West) is Stonehill's top returning presence up front, having totaled 62 blocks (0.87/set) and 111 kills (1.56/set) in 27 matches (71 sets) during her freshman season.
Stonehill opens its 2015 campaign on Saturday, September 5th with matches against Mercy College and Caldwell University at the GCU Lions Invitational, hosted by Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey. The Skyhawks then return home to Merkert Gymnasium the following Friday to host Gannon University as part of the Stonehill Skyhawks Invitational.
2015 Northeast-10 Conference Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. New Haven - 188 (9)
2. Adelphi - 172 (3)
3. Bentley - 171 (3)
4. Stonehill - 148
5. Saint Rose - 147
6. So. New Hampshire - 128
7. Franklin Pierce - 120
8. Merrimack - 106
9. Le Moyne - 88
10. Saint Anselm - 75
11. Assumption - 61
12. So. Connecticut - 57
13. American Int'l - 54
14. Pace - 34
15. Saint Michael's - 26
(#) – indicates first-place votes