January 24, 2014
Saints Tabbed No. 2 in GNAC Pre-Season Coaches’ Poll
The Emmanuel College men's volleyball team has landed the No. 2 ranking the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Pre-Season Coaches' Poll. The Saints received 71 points to finish second in the conference and also received four points in the AVCA national poll for a No. 18 ranking.
Though the team fell short in its January 18th home opener against Fanshawe College, they still hold aspirations of bringing home the program's first-ever conference title. After posting a 12-2 conference mark in 2013 and advancing to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship match for the fifth time in six years, the Saints feel poised to capture Emmanuel's first men's volleyball championship this spring.
The Saints have returned 15 veterans from last year's 18-14 team, which ranked among the nation's top 15 programs for much of the year. Of the 14 losses in 2013, 12 of them came at the hands of nationally-ranked opponents and one was a hard-fought 3-1 setback to Division I Harvard University.
Among the experienced veterans are two-time All-GNAC outside hitters Zach Whitermore '15 and Ashanti Jackson '15. The two junior standouts will captain the 2014 squad along with classmate Ryan Kessler '15. Whitermore and Jackson were both 2nd Team All-GNAC picks and led the Saints in total kills and kills per set last season. The duo combined for 473 kills, 265 digs and 62 total blocks in 2013.
Coach Adam Martel is excited about his team's potential this season.
"We are looking to build on the program's success over the past several years," said the fourth-year head coach. "Returning all of our starters, except Nick (Updike '13), we are excited to fight for our first conference title and be competitive nationally once again this year."
The Saints will face Southern Vermont College on Sunday, January 26th, at 11:00 a.m., in the Jean Yawkey Center gymnasium.