FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Two-time defending GNAC champion
Leopards collect seven of eight first-place votes
WINTHROP, Mass. – Fresh off advancing to the NCAA Division III Tournament national semifinals last April, Wentworth Institute of Technology has been tabbed as the favorite in the 2018 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Preseason Poll, as voted upon by the league's eight head coaches.
Wentworth received 63 points in the poll and collected seven of the eight first-place votes, with the other going to longtime GNAC power Rivier University, which finished second in the ledger with 55 points.
Last spring, Wentworth defeated Lasell College, 3-2, in the GNAC Championship to capture the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It marked the Leopards' second straight conference crown, having topped Rivier in five sets back in 2016.
Wentworth went on to defeat Juniata in last year's national quarterfinals before falling in a five-set thriller to New Paltz State with a trip to the national championship on the line.
Under seventh-year head coach Evin Giglio, Wentworth will open its season this weekend at the SUNY Poly Wildcat Invitational, squaring off against Nazareth and Wells on Friday before facing Vassar and SUNY Poly on Saturday. The Leopards will begin GNAC play at home against Rivier on Thursday, February 8.
Johnson & Wales University took the third spot with 46 points, followed by Lasell with 40 points, while newest GNAC member Regis (Mass.) rounded out the top-five with 32 points. Emmanuel College, Emerson College and Mount Ida College filled out the remainder of the poll.
The top-two teams in the regular season will receive GNAC Tournament first-round byes, with the semifinals slated for Thursday, April 12 followed by the title match on Saturday, April 14.
Colby-Sawyer College, which will join the GNAC as a full member beginning with the 2018-19 academic year, will sponsor men's volleyball as a varsity sport next year.
2018 GNAC Men's Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. Wentworth (7) – 63
2. Rivier (1) – 55
3. Johnson & Wales – 46
4. Lasell – 40
5. Regis – 32
6. Emmanuel – 22
7. Emerson – 20
8. Mount Ida – 10
Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 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.
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