CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The University of New Hampshire volleyball team, led by 13th-year head coach Jill Hirschinger, was selected second in the 2008 America East Preseason Coaches Poll that was released Tuesday by the league office.

UNH received a total of 31 points, including two first-place votes, just two points shy of back-to-back reigning champion Albany (33; four first-place votes) and two points ahead of UMBC (29 points; one first-place vote). Rounding out the seven-team field were Binghamton (21), Stony Brook (16), Hartford (9) and Maine (8).

The top four teams in the league will advance to the America East Championship, which will be played Nov. 21-23 at the site of the highest seed. The winner of the tourney will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats (19-9 overall, 8-4 America East in 2007) tied Albany for second place in the regular season, earned the second seed by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker and qualified for the America East Championship before falling to eventual champion Albany in the semifinals.
UNH returns a league-leading three all-conference selections including the America East Defensive Specialist of the Year Alyse Lahti (Pepper Pike, Ohio), first-team honoree Kirsten Bates (Calgary, Alberta) and second-team selection Kate Uitti (Pinckney, Mich.). Overall, the ‘Cats return four starters, several key reserves and have added a strong seven-player freshmen recruiting class.
The UNH volleyball team open its 2008 campaign Friday, August 29 at the James Madison Tournament with the host Dukes at 7 p.m. UNH will also play Virginia and Murray State on the second day of competition at JMU. UNH’s regular-season home opener will be Sept. 9, when the ‘Cats play Bryant University; tickets are available for all home games online at www.unhwildcats.com.

2008 Preseason Poll
Rank  Team (1st-place votes) Total
1.         Albany (4)        33
2.         New Hampshire (2)    31
3.         UMBC (1)        29
4.         Binghamton        21
5.         Stony Brook        16
6.         Hartford            9
7.         Maine            8

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