August 17, 2009

Women's Volleyball Tabbed for Fourth in NEC Pre-Season Poll

Aug. 17, 2009

FAIRFIELD, CT - The Sacred Heart women's volleyball team was picked to finish fourth in the 2009 Northeast Conference pre-season coaches poll released today. Defending champs Long Island University was chosen as the co-favorite with Robert Morris, while Central Connecticut was tabbed third.

Sacred Heart recorded a Division I school record with 18 wins last seasonm finishing 18-13 overall and 6-5 in the NEC. The Pioneers rode that into their first-ever appearance in the semifinals of the Northeast Conference playoffs. Third-year head coach Rob Machan returns a strong nucleus, including ten letterwinners and all six starters. Add to that a crop of six freshmen and Machan may just have the weapons he needs to help the Pioneers win their first NEC title.

Coming off exceptional rookie outings, the sophomore trio of Maile Herthington (Thousand Oaks, CA), Ashlyn Trimble (Temecula, CA) and Jessica Colberg (Long Beach, CA) returns to anchor the lineup. Herthington, an outside hitter, paced the team in points (4.03 ppg, third in NEC), kills (3.44 kpg, third in NEC) and service aces (.41 apg, sixth in NEC), which earned her conference Rookie of the Week recognition twice, along with a place on the All-NEC second team.

Fellow outside hitter Trimble also positioned herself second on the team in five categories: kills (2.9 kpg), solo blocks (11), total service aces (38), digs (2.8 dpg) and points (3.51 ppg). Colberg reeled in the team's most digs last season with 444 to finish second in the league with 3.89 per game, and also finished in a three-way tie for most service aces (.41 apg).

Junior setter Courtney Kidd-Kadlubek (Santa Barbara, CA) broke a school record in her second season with 1,127 assists, averaging an NEC-best 9.89 per game, and is poised to captain the Pioneer offense again in 2009. In just two seasons, she already has compiled the fourth-highest assist total in school history.

Another second-year Pioneer to watch is Brittany Best (Norco, CA), an All-NEC second team selection as a rookie and the third player to share in a team-best .41 service aces per game.

Senior leadership will be led by middle blocker Annie Archer (Littleton, CO), who returns for her final go-round after finishing the last two seasons as the Pioneers' blocking leader, and Alec Bavasi (Flagstaff, AZ) who has been a very versatile player during her career.