Blue Hens Voted to Repeat as Champions in 2011 CAA Volleyball Pre-season Coaches’ Poll
August 17, 2011
File Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
RICHMOND, Va. - - Winners of three of the last four Colonial Athletic Association volleyball titles, including last season’s regular season and tournament championship, the University of Delaware volleyball team has been chosen as the favorite to take the title again in 2011, announced today by the conference office.
The Blue Hens won the 2010 CAA Tournament Championship in dramatic fashion, defeating third seeded Northeastern in five sets after trailing two games to one. They earned the right to host the postseason tournament on Viera Court by steamrolling through the CAA regular season at a 13-1 mark. The team finished its season in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, ending with a 26-6 overall record.
Delaware returns a pair of all-conference performers this season in junior outside hitter Alissa Alker and senior outside hitter Kim Stewart.
Alker was named a third-team All-CAA selection last season, ranking fifth in the conference in points per set (3.62) and seventh in kills per game (3.10). She was also second on the team in total blocks (76), points (431) and points per game. The six-rotation player was also named to the CAA All-Rookie team in 2009.
Stewart returns as the lone three-year letterwinner on the squad, and was named a co-captain heading into the season. She has filled up the stat sheet in all three of her seasons, and will look to do so again this year. Also a six-rotation player, Stewart was second on the team in digs (346), digs per set (2.91), and aces (35), while ranking third in kills (302), kills per set (2.54), total blocks (62) and points per set (3.11) last season.
Voted on by the conference’s head coaches, Delaware received five-first place votes and 72 points to earn the top spot. However, four other teams also received at least one first-place vote in the preseason poll.
Following the Blue Hens, the next two slots open the season as 2010 regular season finished. James Madison, which fell in the CAA Semifinals, earned 67 points (two first-place votes) for second place. Northeastern was third with 62 points (one first place vote).
In a tight group where the second, third and fourth spots were separated by only seven points, VCU followd the Huskies with 60 points (1 first-place vote). The fifth team to receive at least one first place vote was George Mason in fifth with 53 points.
Georgia State ranked sixth with 45 points while Towson and William & Mary was tied in seventh with 32 points. Rounding out the ten-team conference were Hofstra (17) and UNC Wilmington (10).
Delaware opens a challenging 2011 campaign on the road with its first match on Aug. 26. The Hens will take on Rice and nationally-ranked Stanford in Houston, Tex. as part of the Rice Tournament before coming home to battle Oregon on Aug. 30 for the home opener at 7 p.m. on Viera Court.
2011 CAA Volleyball Pre-season Coaches’ Poll:
1. Delaware 72 (5 first-place votes); 2. James Madison 67 (2); 3. Northeastern 62 (1); 4. VCU 60 (1); 5. George Mason 53 (1); 6. Georgia State 45; 7. Towson 32; 7. William & Mary 32; 9. Hofstra 17; 10. UNC Wilmington 10.
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