Skyline Conference Fall Preseason Polls Released
Aug 29, 2006

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. Stevens Institute of Technology, which captured three Skyline Conference championships last fall, has been selected by the conference's head coaches to repeat in men's soccer, women's soccer and volleyball.

In MEN'S SOCCER, Stevens was a unanimous selection as preseason favorite. The Ducks, who have captured three straight Skyline Conference titles, return seven starters from last season's team that went 16-4-2 overall and 9-0 in conference play. Stevens returns six All-Skyline players from last season. Forwards Chris McGreevy and Mike Kaiser both first-team selections were part of an offense that led the nation in scoring at 4.82 goals per game. Senior back Nick Gkionis and senior goalkeeper Chris Celentano anchor a defense that allowed just 11 goals in 22 games last season.

Stevens is expected to receive a strong challenge from the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Merchant Marine lost just two letterwinners to graduation from last season's squad that went 13-5-3 overall and 8-1 in Skyline play. The Mariners return five All-Skyline performers from last season. Senior Kyle Flynn and sophomore Chris Flanagan, the 2005 Skyline Conference Rookie of the Year, lead the USMMA offense. Junior back Chris Nitta and senior goalkeeper Joseph Halverson, both All-Skyline first-team selections last year, anchor a strong defense.

In WOMEN'S SOCCER, Stevens Institute of Technology returns nine of its top 10 scorers from last season's team that went 20-3 overall and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship. The Ducks return eight All-Skyline selections from last season, including five first-team picks. Senior midfielder Siena York-Carr was selected as both the Skyline Conference Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player of the Skyline Tournament after recording five game-winning goals and 21 points last season. Senior goalkeeper Erica Midttveit anchors a defense that yielded just 20 goals in 23 games. Sophomores Audra Clark and Salme Cook (Skyline Co-Rookie of the Year) were both All-Skyline first-team selections as rookies.

St. Joseph's (38 points), Manhattanville (34) and Centenary (33) will look to challenge Stevens this season. St. Joseph's returns four All-Skyline players including 2005 Skyline Co-Rookie of the Year Courtney Caden. Manhattanville was a vastly improved team last season under first-year head coach Matt Paton. The Valiants are led by senior goalkeeper Michele Ribeiro, an All-Skyline first-team selection. Centenary, which had advanced to the Skyline championship game in both 2003 and 2004, was decimated by injuries last season. The Cyclones, led by junior forward Clare Johnson and junior midfielder Tanya DiDonna, figure to return to form this season.

In VOLLEYBALL, Stevens Institute of Technology is coming off perhaps the most successful season in school history. The Ducks went 31-6 overall, 8-0 in the conference and captured their second straight Skyline title and earned their first NCAA Tournament victory. Stevens, the unanimous selection as preseason favorite among the Skyline coaches, returns six starters including junior outside hitter Dawn Herring, the Skyline Conference Co-Player of the Year. Sophomore outside hitter Melanie Volk, the 2005 Skyline Rookie of the Year, looks to build upon a strong freshman campaign. Senior Micki Biltz steps in at setter to replace graduated four-year starter Gina Joyce.

The United States Merchant Marine Academy (52 points) and St. Joseph's College (51) were picked second and third respectively. Merchant Marine welcomes back head coach Jim Hettenbach after a six-year absence. Hettenbach, who coached USMMA from 1989 to 2000, guided the Mariners to Skyline championships in 1996, 1998 and 1999, including the program's first NCAA Tournament bid in 1999. Junior setter Kit Jablonski, a two-year starter, returns to direct the offense. St. Joseph's College finished second in the regular-season standings last year under the direction of first-year head coach Tobey Pantophlet. Senior setter Christina Auth provides the team with veteran leadership.

2006 SKYLINE PRESEASON MEN'S SOCCER POLL

1. Stevens, 81 (9)

2. USMMA, 71 (1)

3. Manhattanville, 67

4. Maritime, 49

5. Farmingdale State, 48

6. St. Joseph's, 37

7. Mount Saint Mary, 35

8. Old Westbury, 26

9. Centenary, 19

10. Mount Saint Vincent, 17

(First-place votes in parentheses)

2006 SKYLINE PRESEASON WOMEN'S SOCCER POLL

1. Stevens, 44 (6)

2. St. Joseph's, 38 (1)

3. Manhattanville, 34

4. Centenary, 33 (1)

5. Farmingdale State, 30

6. Mount Saint Vincent, 23

7. Mount Saint Mary, 14

8. Maritime, 8

(First-place votes in parentheses)

2006 SKYLINE PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL POLL

1. Stevens, 64 (8)

2. USMMA, 52

3. St. Joseph's, 51

4. Mount Saint Mary, 39

5. Old Westbury, 38

6. Farmingdale State, 31

7. Centenary, 22

8. Mount Saint Vincent, 19

9. Maritime, 8

(First-place votes in parentheses)