The Irish edged Louisville by one point to earn the top spot in the Preseason BIG EAST Coaches' Poll. The Blue Demons finished tied for 13th with Rutgers.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. Notre Dame was tabbed the BIG EAST Conference Volleyball favorite in the annual Preseason Coach's Poll. St. John's
Hui Ping Huan and Louisville
's Tatyana Kolesnikova, were selected BIG EAST Preseason Co-Players of the Year and headlined the 2007 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team. The leagues 15 head coaches vote and are not permitted to vote for their own players or teams.
Notre Dame received eight first-place votes, narrowly beating defending champion Louisville by one point. This is the second consecutive year the Irish have sat atop the preseason poll, despite ending the 2006 regular season tied for third with a 10-4 record. Returning starters Adrianna Stasiuk (Sr., OH) and Ashley Tarutis (Sr., S) look to lead Notre Dame back to the BIG EAST Championship for the 11th time in 13 years. Stasiuk, a 2006 All-BIG EAST First Team selection, and junior outside hitter Mallorie Croal, also a First Team selection, were named to the 2007 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team. Stasiuk was one of four unanimous selections.
Louisville received seven first-place votes and is picked to finish second. The Cardinals are coming off a tremendous 2006 season that saw them win their first BIG EAST Championship, after only two years in the league. UofL returns four starters from the squad that went 25-7. 2006 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year Kolesnikova leads the Cardinals, who held the league’s second-best kills average (.352). Joining Kolesnikova on the 2007 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team is sophomore setter Samantha Dabbs.
Led by Huang, St. John's has been tabbed to finish third. Coming off their best season in program history, the Red Storm posted a 31-5 record and won the league’s regular season crown with a 14-0 record. The squad also made a splash on the national scene, earning its first national ranking (No. 24) and making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, St. John’s Huang highlights a roster that returns nine letterwinners, including 2006 BIG EAST Libero of the Year Lena Yee and five starters. Both Huang and Lee, along with senior setter Wioleta Leszczynska, were named to the preseason team. Huang was a unanimous selection.
Pittsburgh and Marquette were selected to finish fourth and fifth, respectively. Both squads finished tied for third in the conference at 10-4 last season. Pitt’s Diana Andreyko (Sr., OH) and Meagan Dooley (So., MH), and Marquette’s Kimberley Todd (Sr., OH/MB) earned a place on the All-BIG EAST Preseason Team. Both Andreyko and Todd were unanimous selections. Bridget Denson-Dorman (So., S) of Connecticut, Marcela Gurgel (So., OH) of USF and Jessie Nevitt (R-Jr., MB) of Cincinnati also were selected to the preseason team.
Cincinnati, Connecticut, USF, Syracuse and Villanova round out the preseason top-10, respectively. Seton Hall and Georgetown were slated in the 11 and 12 spots while DePaul and Rutgers tied for 13th.
The Blue Demons return just five players from last season roster, while they welcome nine new faces to the floor from a recruiting class that received highest honorable mention by PrepVolleyball.com.
West Virginia was picked 15th.
The Blue Demons open conference play with the Mountaineers on Friday, September 21.
Marquette hosts the 2007 BIG EAST Championship at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wisc. The top eight teams, according to league records, compete in the single-elimination tournament held Nov. 16-18. The championship final will be broadcast live on ESPNU at 4:00 p.m. EDT.
BIG EAST Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
| School || Pts. || BIG EAST || Finish || Overall|
| Notre Dame (8) || 188 || 10-4 || T-3rd || 18-14|
| Louisville (7) || 187 || 13-1 || 2nd || 25-7|
| St. John's || 172 || 14-0 || 1st || 31-5|
| Pittsburgh || 147 || 10-4 || T-3rd || 22-9|
| Marquette || 141 || 10-4 || T-3rd || 16-15|
| Cincinnati || 137 || 10-4 || T-3rd || 22-7|
| Connecticut || 112 || 8-6 || 7th || 19-11|
| USF || 112 || 7-7 || T-8th || 12-17|
| Syracuse || 87 || 5-9 || T-10th || 11-25|
| Villanova || 75 || 7-7 || T-8th || 16-15|
| Seton Hall || 65 || 5-9 || T-10th || 16-14|
| Georgetown || 58 || 2-12 || T-12th || 8-19|
| DePaul || 34 || 0-14 || 15th || 5-25|
| Rutgers || 34 || 2-12 || T-12th || 5-20|
| West Virginia || 26 || 2-12 || T-12th || 3-28|
(-) - Indicates first place votes
BIG EAST PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL AWARDS
BIG EAST Preseason Co-Players of Year
Hui Ping Huang, Jr., MH/OH, St. John’s
Tatyana Kolesnikova, Jr., OH, Louisville
All-BIG EAST Preseason Team^
Diana Andreyko, Sr., OH, Pittsburgh*
Mallorie Croal, Jr., OH, Notre Dame
Samantha Dabbs, So., S, Louisville
Bridget Denson-Dorman, So., S, Connecticut
Meagan Dooley, So., MH, Pittsburgh
Marcela Gurgel, So., OH, USF
Hui Ping Huang, Jr., MH/OH, St. John’s*
Tatyana Kolesnikova, Jr., OH, Louisville
Wioleta Leszczynska, Sr., S/RS, St. John’s
Jessie Nevitt, R-Jr., MB, Cincinnati
Andrianna Stasiuk, Sr., OH, Notre Dame*
Kimberley Todd, Sr., OH/MB, Marquette*
Kathleen “Lena” Yee, Jr., L, St. John’s
^ - Due to a tie in voting an extra member has been added to the All-BIG EAST Preseason Team
* - unanimous selection