One year removed from the most successful season in program history the Pioneers have been picked to finish second by the league coaches in the Northeast Conference preseason poll. In 2009 Sacred Heart racked up a program best 23 victories and reached the Northeast Conference title game for the first time ever. SHU received four first place votes in the poll but finished just behind five-time defending NEC champion Long Island.
The Pioneers will get leadership and consistency from their senior captain Courtney Kidd-Kadlubek, the reigning NEC Setter of the Year and All-NEC first team honoree. Kidd-Kadlubek is the centerpiece of the powerful SHU attack averaging 10.93 assits last season. She also ranked seventh in the conference with 0.36 service aces per game. Sacred Heart also welcomes back two All-NEC second team selections in Ashlyn Trimble (Temecula, CA) and Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO). Trimble led the NEC with 0.55 service aces per game and was named to the All-Tournament team. She also ranked second on the Pioneer squad in both kills and blocks. Sage is coming off of an impressive freshman season in which she grabbed two NEC Rookie of the Week awards and became a fixture in the middle of the court for SHU.
Central Connecticut State and Robert Morris are also predicted to reach the post season again this year finishing third and fourth in the poll, respectively. New NEC member Bryant secured the fifth spot in the rankings while Fairleigh Dickinson sits in sixth. The poll was rounded out in order by Saint Francis (PA), Quinnipiac, and St. Francis (NY) in the seventh, eighth, and ninth positions.
The 2010 season kicks-off August 27th as the Pioneers head to Long Beach State for a tournament that includes match-ups against Rutgers, St. Mary’s (CA) and host Long Beach St. The Pioneers open their home schedule September 3 versus Lehigh in the annual Sacred Heart Invitational. The Northeast Conference tournament will be held at the home of the regular season champion November 20-21 with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.