NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The coaches of the Little East Conference have chosen UMass Boston as the top team for the 2013 season following the release of the coaches' preseason poll. UMB is looking to make history this fall as they hope to become only the second team in conference history to win five-straight tournament titles. The Beacons grabbed seven of the eight first place votes and earned 63 points.
Tied for second place was Keene State College and Western Connecticut State University as the two teams each earned 52 points respectively. Keene State grabbed the only other first place vote on this year's poll. Closing out the top-4 was the Warriors of Eastern Connecticut State University with 35 points.
Finishing just two points behind ECSU was Plymouth State University in fifth with 33 points, followed by last year's surprise team in Rhode Island College in sixth with 26 points. In seventh was UMass Dartmouth with 14 points, followed by the University of Southern Maine with 13 points.
Under the direction of now co-head coaches Terry Condon and Michael Houlihan, the Beacons have become the premiere team in New England volleyball. Last season, the Beacons made quick work of the LEC tournament field to earn their fourth straight crown. In the NCAA Regional tournament the Beacons came in as the underdog but ran the table defeating heavily favored Connecticut College and Bowdoin College in the semi's and championship rounds to earn the program's second regional title in three years.
UMB advanced to the National Championship tournament and was defeated by Christopher Newport University in the quarterfinal round of the "Elite 8".
This season will be an entirely new look for UMB with the departure of three-time All-American Shannon Thompson '13. However, the Beacons will look to a very talented mix of newcomers and seasoned veterans this fall. Amongst UMB's returners is the reigning LEC Rookie of the Year in Emma Rocha (Boynton Beach, Fla.), three-time All-Conference selection Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and two-time All-Conference honoree Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.).
The Beacons will compete in two tournaments before opening up conference play on September 11 when they host Keene State College at 7 p.m. in the Clark Athletic Center Gym. UMB's first road conference match will take place on Thursday, September 26 when they face Rhode Island College at 6 p.m. in Providence.
The Beacons will begin their new season this Friday when they play a pair of matches at the Colorado College Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colorado.