Three teams emerged atop the America East preseason poll with first-place votes, though the University of Albany ended up with the most and highest total score. That means the team who won the regular season title in the conference last season goes into 2018 as the preseason favorite to repeat.
In fact, this was the closest vote since 2013, when two points separated the top three teams. This season, first and second were just one point apart and first to third was just three. The difference was Albany receiving three first-place votes while New Hampshire and Stony Brook each grabbed two.
Picking Albany is a pretty safe bet, as the team has made the America East championship match in 12 of the last 14 tries and went 11-1 in league action last season. They also bring back the league’s reigning Defensive Specialist of the Year, Nicole Otero, and Co-Rookie of the Year, Tatiana Tiangco.
The team right on their heels, New Hampshire, went 8-4 but fell in the semifinals to Binghamton (picked fourth), who returns the America East Player of the Year Gaby Alicea. UNH was also the league champs in 2016.
Rounding out the top three is Stony Brook, who went just 6-6 in the conference last season but pulled off the underdog run in the conference tournament to punch their bid to the NCAA Tournament.
In total, 20 players who were on some sort of recognized stage in the league are back for 2018, including seven from the first-team and six from the second-team.
The full poll from the America East can be seen below:
2018 America East Volleyball Preseason Poll
No. School Points (1st Place Votes)
1. UAlbany 32 (3)
2. New Hampshire 31 (2)
3. Stony Brook 29 (2)
4. Binghamton 22
5. UMBC 15
6. Hartford 10
7. UMass Lowell 8