Edison, N.J. –Marist College, has been selected as the 2014 preseason volleyball favorites, as voted by the league’s ten head coaches. Red Fox, Mackenzie Stephens was named Preseason Player of the year.
Marist earned five first place votes for 89 points, edging out second place Fairfield University by only two points. The Red Foxes finished 2013 as Co-Regular Season Champions with an overall record of 21-9 and a league mark of 14-4. Marist led the conference in assists (858), assists per set (12.81), kills per set (13.58), and service aces (124) during the 2013 campaign en route to a spot in the title match at the 2013 MAAC Volleyball Championship. The Red Foxes also claimed three of the five regular season major awards in 2013, led by head coach Tom Hanna being named the 2013 Anaconda Sports MAAC Coach of the Year, Stephens named MAAC Player of the year, and Brooke Zywick earning Libero of the Year.
The league’s head coaches named Stephens as the 2014 MAAC Preseason Player of the Year. During her junior campaign in 2013, she ranked second in the MAAC with a .339 hitting percentage, third in the league in kills per set averaging 3.39, and third in points with a 3.91 average. Stephens was also named to the All-MAAC First Team, MAAC All-Tournament Team, and MAAC All-Academic Team in 2013.
The two-time defending MAAC Champion, Fairfield University, was a close second in the poll receiving two first place votes for 87 points. The Stags finished the 2013 campaign with a 19-13 overall record and 14-4 MAAC record to earn a share of the regular season title. Fairfield earned the top seed in the championship and knocked off No. 2 Marist in the title match 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, and 25-15) to repeat as MAAC Champions. The Stags return all but two members from the 2013 squad, including All-MAAC First Team selection Marilyn Peizer.
Iona College finished third in the poll receiving 74 points, followed by Siena College receiving 70 points, and Manhattan College earning 68 points to round out the top five. Canisius College tallied 57 votes, while Rider University received 39 points and Quinnipiac University picked up 31 votes for eighth. Niagara University earned 25 points, for ninth and Saint Peter’s rounded out the poll receiving 10 points.
Earning spots on the preseason All-MAAC team are Stephens, who was a unanimous choice and Siena’s Jacqueline Skeen at the middle. At outside hitter are Fairfield’s Peizer, as well as unanimous selection Iona’s Catrina Warren, and Courtney Shaw of Marist. Iona’s Natalie Ziskin is at the setter position, while Brooke Zywick earned the Libero position.