Aug. 22, 2014
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The Army volleyball team was chosen to finish third in the Patriot League's annual preseason poll, the conference office announced Friday. In addition, sophomore Olivia Fairfield was selected to the Preseason All-Patriot League team after securing rookie of the year honors as a freshman.
Preseason voting was compiled by the league's head coaches and sports information directors, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
Army totaled 102 points in the voting process, behind defending Patriot League-champion American and last season's runner-up, Colgate. The Eagles collected 16 first-place votes and earned 128 points, while Colgate came in second with a pair of first-place nods and 104 points. Behind Army was Lehigh (85), Navy (81), Loyola (53), Bucknell (41), Holy Cross (29) and Lafayette (26).
Led by eighth-year head coach Alma Kovaci, Army returns eight letterwinners from last season's Patriot League tournament participant and welcomes 12 newcomers to the team. Fairfield, who also earned second-team All-Patriot League accolades, became the sixth Army volleyball player to collect rookie of the year recognition. The Iowa City, Iowa native ranked fourth in the conference in hitting percentage (.324) and ranked eighth with 2.85 kills per set.
Also returning are senior co-captain Deanna Dalton, who played in every set in 2013, and classmates Kristen Smeland and Molly McDonald. Junior setter Vanessa Edwards will also hold a co-captain role after racking up 727 assists a year ago.
Army begins its season on Friday, Aug. 29, when the Black Knights travel to Smithfield, R.I. for the Bryant Invitational. Matches against St. John's and the host Bulldogs await the 2014 Black Knights.
Patriot League Preseason Poll
1. American 128 (16 first place votes)
2. Colgate 104 (2)
3. Army 102
4. Lehigh 85
5. Navy 81
6. Loyola 52
7. Bucknell 41
8. Holy Cross 29
9. Lafayette 26
Preseason All-Patriot League Team
Kristyna Lindovska, American, Sr., OH
Kelly McCaddin, American, Sr., MB
Monika Smidova, American, Sr., S (Preseason Player of the Year)
Olivia Fairfield, Army, So., MB
Karen Campbell, Bucknell, Jr., MB
Diane Seely, Colgate, Sr., MB
Jade Van Streepen, Lehigh, Sr., OH