CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The University of New Hampshire volleyball team, led by 15th-year head coach Jill Hirschinger, was selected fourth in the 2010 America East Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released Monday by the league office.

Binghamton topped the poll with 33 points, earning five first-place votes. Perennial power Albany came in at the second spot, just two points behind the Bearcats with 31 and one first-place vote. The final first-place vote was garnered by UMBC, who received 24 points and was the coaches' third-place selection. UNH received a total of 22 points just two points shy of the Retrievers and two ahead of Stony Brook (20 points). Rounding out the seven-team field was Hartford (11) and the league's newest member Providence (6).

The top four teams in the league will advance to the America East Championship, which will be played Nov. 20-21 or 21-22 at the site of the highest seed. The winner of the tourney will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats (13-15 overall, 5-5 America East in 2009) are looking for their fourth tournament title, as they return four starters from last year's squad including America East co-Defensive Specialist of the Year Sara Heldman (Greenwood, Ind.). Heldman, a tri-captain on the 2010 squad, is joined at captain by seniors Justine Elliott (Mitchellville, Md.), a middle blocker, and Jayde Huxtable (St. Charles, Ill.), a defensive specialist.

The UNH volleyball team opens its 2010 campaign on Friday, August 27 at the Army Tournament with St. John's University at 2:30 p.m. in West Point, N.Y. New Hampshire will also play host Black Knights (7:30 pm.) and Fairleigh Dickinson (August 28; 3 p.m.) and during competition at Army. UNH's home opener is on Sept. 7, when the 'Cats play Northeastern University at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for all home games online at www.unhwildcats.com.

2010 Preseason Poll

Rank  Team (1st-place votes) Total

1.  Binghamton (5) 33

2.  Albany (1) 31

3.   UMBC (1)  24

4.  New Hampshire  22

5. Stony Brook 20

6.  Hartford 11

7.  Providence 6

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