Sage Selected as Skyline Conference Preseason Favorite
in Women's Volleyball
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. – In two seasons of Skyline Conference women's volleyball play, Sage has not dropped a conference match, going a perfect 22-0 en route to a pair of conference titles and NCAA bids. Last season, the Gators did not drop a single set in 11 matches. It is no surprise then that Sage has been selected by the Skyline coaches as the conference's preseason favorite.
The Gators lost a pair of key players from last season's team in graduated seniors Kaitlin Olmstead and Krista Provost. Olmstead, the Skyline Player of the Year, holds virtually every assist record at the school. Provost, also an All-Skyline first-team performer, averaged a team-leading 2.65 kills and 4.05 digs. Junior Nicole Corbett (2.32 kills, 1.03 blocks), an All-Skyline first-team selection, and senior Kellie Jones (1.73 kills, 3.15 digs) should both play more prominent roles this season. Sophomore Kristyn Buonincontra (4.19 assists) will take over at the setter position.
Polytechnic Institute of NYU has been knocking on the door the past two seasons and expects to give Sage a strong challenge. Second-year head coach Marc Solondz has two talented players in junior Meredith Shipman (3.03 kills, 2.06 digs) and sophomore Victoria Kalvert (3.44 kills, 1.99 digs), who won Skyline Rookie of the Year honors the last two years respectively.
St. Joseph's was the surprise team in the conference last season. The Golden Eagles, who went 9-24 in 2007, had an big turnaround season, going 20-9 last year en route to a berth in the Skyline championship match. Sophomore Melissa O'Connell (team-leading 2.08 kills) provided St. Joseph's with much needed offense as a rookie. Senior Kasey Wood (6.66 digs) was a first-team All-Skyline selection as a libero last season.
Mount Saint Mary (54 points) and Bard (53) were picked fourth and fifth respectively, giving the Skyline Conference depth and balance that hasn't been seen in several years. Sophomore outside hitter Courtney Kenney (2.49 kills, 2.22 digs) and senior setter Katie Toole (3.32 assists) were both All-Skyline selections for the Mount last season. Bard sophomore Rachel Van Horn (2.51 kills, 0.74 aces, 1.86 digs) was one of the league's top freshmen last season.
SKYLINE CONFERENCE WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL
2009 PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
1. Sage (6) 78
2. Polytechnic (2) 72
3. St. Joseph's-L.I. (2) 65
4. Mount Saint Mary 54
5. Bard 53
6. Mount Saint Vincent 38
7. Old Westbury 36
8. Farmingdale State 28
9. Purchase 17
10. Maritime 9
(first-place votes in parentheses)