RICHMOND, Va. -- The University of Delaware volleyball team was picked sixth in the 2014 Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Coaches Poll, the league announced on Tuesday.

College of Charleston, which captured the league title last year during the Cougars’ first season in the CAA, was picked to defend its title with 62 points and six first place votes. James Madison was selected second with 52 points and two first place votes, while Northeastern was picked with 48 points and the other first place vote.

Hofstra was selected fourth with 37 points, while UNCW was picked fifth with 36 points and the Blue Hens were sixth with 35 points. Towson (23), William & Mary (20) and league newcomer Elon (16) rounded out the poll.

Delaware, led by 13th-year head coach Bonnie Kenny, will look to bounce back from a 2013 season that saw the Blue Hens finish 11-17 overall and 3-11 in the conference. UD returns four starters and eight letterwinners as the Blue Hens attempt to qualify for the CAA Tournament for the eighth time in nine seasons.

Junior Ariel Shonk will lead Delaware after earning third team All-CAA honors for the second consecutive year in 2013, when she ranked second in the conference and 11th in Division I with 5.52 digs per set. Shonk reached double figure digs in all but two matches during the year, and posted eight 30-dig matches on the campaign.

Fellow juniors Katie Hillman and Chandler Bryant will look to pace the Delaware attack after both players started all 28 matches a year ago. Hillman led the squad and ranked fifth in the CAA with 3.15 kills per set and recorded a career-high 28 kills during a win over UMBC, the sixth most in a match in UD history. Bryant paced the Blue Hens and was eighth in the CAA with a .259 hitting percentage, while she was third on the team with 2.16 kills per set.

Junior Jill Meyers, who also started every match in 2013, led UD with 105 blocks a year ago, while she was third on the team with a .179 hitting percentage. Sophomores Taylor Hollingsworth, Lauren Talley, Autumn Jenkins and Erin Layne will also look to contribute, along with sophomore transfers Julia Anderson and Alexa Swann.

The Blue Hens open their 2014 season by hosting the Courtyard by Marriott Tournament on August 29-30, as Delaware will take on Albany, Loyola (Chicago) and Rhode Island at the Bob Carpenter Center.

2014 CAA Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. College of Charleston (6) - 62
2. James Madison (2) - 52
3. Northeastern (1) - 48
4. Hofstra - 37
5. UNCW - 36
6. Delaware - 35
7. Towson - 23
8. William & Mary - 20
9. Elon - 16