Aug 21, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Loyola University Maryland's volleyball team was picked to finish sixth in its inaugural Patriot League season the conference announced today as it distributed its annual preseason poll.
American University, which won 10 League titles from 2001-2011, narrowly earned the top spot in the preseason poll that is voted on by League coaches and athletic communications personnel. The Eagles, who finished second in the regular-season last year, earned eight first-place votes and received a total of 119 points.
The U.S. Military Academy checked in second with 112 points, one more than 2012 regular-season and tournament champion Colgate University received. Both the Black Knights and Red Raiders garnered five first-place votes.
Lehigh University polled fourth with 78 points, and the U.S. Naval Academy was fifth with 76. Loyola grabbed the sixth spot with 52 points, two more than Bucknell University received in seventh. College of the Holy Cross, 28 points, and Lafayette College, 22, rounded out the poll in eighth and ninth places, respectively.
"We're definitely looking forward to our first season in the Patriot League," said Loyola Head Coach Jake Lawrence. "We know that it is a very good league with some impressive teams, and we think we can make an impact as we start our time in the conference."
The Greyhounds return 10 players from a 2012 team that showed a five-win improvement over the previous season and finished 13-15 overall.
Middle blocker Jac Bullock was an All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Second Team performer, averaging 3.15 kills and 0.74 blocks per set while leading the MAAC in hitting percentage (.337).
Outside hitter Faye Lukas finished third in the Greyhounds' former conference in kills (390) and kills per set (3.61). She recorded 10 or more kills in 20-of-28 matches, 15 of Loyola's final 23 contests.
Middle blocker Mindy Maloney also returns a year removed from averaging 1.81 kills and 0.73 blocks per set. Setter Lauren Andersen was third in the MAAC in assists per set, 10.07, and she helped the offense improve its hitting percentage by 54 percentage points over its 2011 mark.
Loyola opens its 2013 season a week from Friday when it takes on Appalachian State University in the Mountaineers tournament in Boone, N.C.