Aug. 16, 2011
EDISON, N.J. - Loyola University Maryland's volleyball team was picked to finish eighth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference preseason poll, the league office announced today.
First-year Head Coach Jake Lawrence takes over a Greyhounds' program that went 14-20 overall last season and finished tied for sixth in the MAAC regular-season with an 8-10 mark.
Niagara was tabbed as the team to beat this season after winning the last two MAAC titles. The Purple Eagles received 98 points, seven more than second-place Canisius. Fairfield was third, while Manhattan and Marist rounded out the top five.
Siena and Iona preceded Loyola in the poll, and Rider and Saint Peter's followed the Greyhounds. The Greyhounds received 40 points, just nine out of sixth place.
The Greyhounds sport a youthful, but experienced team this season, as 11 players return to the squad from last year, and all 17 players on the 2011 roster have at least two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Junior outside hitter Katie Dircks and sophomore middle Nicole Sarby are back after finishing 2010 second and third, respectively on the team with 2.64 and 2.22 kills per set. Dircks put away 280 kills, while Sarby had 266.
Dircks is also the returning leader in digs per set after averaging 2.67 a year ago. She was also ninth in the MAAC and tops on the team with 0.33 service aces per game.
Sophomore middle Jac Bullock, who along with Sarby played in all 34 matches last season, totaled 87 blocks last season, an average of 0.70 per set.
The Greyhounds open their 2011 schedule on Friday, August 26, when they take on Clemson in the Tigers' Big Orange Bash. Loyola starts MAAC action on Saturday, September 17, when it hosts Siena at 2 p.m.