JWU Women's Volleyball the Unanimous Choice in 2017 GNAC Preseason Poll


Wildcats receive
all 13 first-place votes

WINTHROP, Mass. – All 13 head coaches have ranked Johnson & Wales University in their top spot in the 2017 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll, it was announced on Thursday morning by the GNAC office. The Wildcats, coming off an 11-0 mark in conference play a year ago, received the maximum 169 points in the poll.

After defeating Rivier University in the GNAC title match last fall, JWU was an unblemished 33-0 entering the NCAA Tournament before falling to UMass Boston in its first-round contest. This year, the Wildcats will look to claim its third GNAC Championship in as many years.

Four of the five JWU student-athletes to receive 2016 All-Conference honors were freshmen. All four will return to the court in Providence this season, including reigning GNAC Rookie of the Year Brylee Frank, who averaged a league-leading 10.42 assists per set last year.

Rivier, which has laid claim to six GNAC titles in program history, finished second in the poll with 155 points, while Anna Maria College finished third with 134 points. Boston rivals Simmons College and Emmanuel College finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the poll.

For the complete results, please see below.

Saint Joseph's College of Maine took the sixth position with an even 100 points. Lasell College followed in seventh with 90 points, ahead of the GNAC's newest core member Regis (Mass.), which was eighth with 80 points. Suffolk University and the University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) rounded out the top-10 with 60 and 58 points, respectively.

Mount Ida College, Norwich University and Albertus Magnus College took the final three spots in the preseason vote.

Preseason favorite JWU will open the season next Friday, September 1 at the Kean Tournament, while Rivier competes at the Springfield Invitational on the same date. The two programs match up in a key GNAC regular-season contest on Saturday, September 23 at Rivier.

The GNAC Tournament dates are set for Tuesday, October 31 (quarterfinals), Thursday, November 2 (semifinals) and a championship date of Saturday, November 4.

2017 GNAC Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. Johnson & Wales (13) - 169
2. Rivier - 155
3. Anna Maria - 134
4. Simmons - 127
5. Emmanuel - 110
6. Saint Joseph's of Maine - 100
7. Lasell - 90
8. Regis (Mass.) - 80 
9. Suffolk - 60
10. Saint Joseph (Conn.) - 58
11. Mount Ida - 56
12. Norwich - 29
13. Albertus Magnus - 15

Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and nearly 4,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement.