MIT is Preseason Favorite to Take New England Division Crown


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Jersey City, N.J. - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which went undefeated in the New England Division in 2007 and enjoyed its best season since joining the North East Collegiate Volleyball Association in 2004, has been voted as the preseason favorite to win the 2008 NECVA New England Division title, in a preseason vote by the division's 12 head coaches.

MIT, which went 27-6 last year and 11-0 in New England Division, returns NECVA Conference Player of the Year Praveen Pamidimukkala, and will be guided by Paul Dill, NECVA Conference co-Coach of the Year. MIT received eight of 12 first place votes and 137 of a possible 144 total points.

Newbury College was tabbed to place second in the division as the Nighthawks, who finished fourth in the league last year, look to build upon their 2007 ECAC Division III North title. Newbury received one first place vote and 126 total points after being the only team in the division to win 30 matches in 2007 (30-12, 8-3).

Rivier College dropped only one match in the division last year-against MIT-and finished second at 17-13 and 10-1 in the league. The Raiders, who are the only New England school to win the NECVA conference title (2006), are third in the preseason poll with 122 points and received two first place votes.

Endicott College was .500 overall last year (16-16), but went 9-2 within the league, finishing third. The Gulls received 97 points and are picked to place fourth this year.

Emmanuel College is a program on the rise and after reaching the NECVA Tournament last year (14-11, 6-4) for the second time in its history, the Saints are picked to finish fifth this year. Emmanuel received 90 points from the coaches.

Johnson and Wales University received the final No. 1 vote in the preseason poll after finishing 8-17 last year and 5-6 in the division. The Wildcats are slated to finish sixth and earned 81 points. JWU was seventh last year.

Elms College is picked to finish seventh (19-13, 5-6). The Blazers were sixth in 2007. The most popular "dark horse" selection this season was Lasell College. The Lasers were voted eighth-where they finished in last year's standings (12-16, 4-7).

Mount Ida College received 52 points as the ninth place selection, while Wentworth Institute of Technology, picked 10th, will be guided by first-year coach Nam Phan. Lesley University was voted 11th and Southern Vermont College rounded out the poll in 12th place.

Schools received 12 points for a first place vote, 11 for second place, 10 for third, etc., with one point for an 12th place selection. The maximum number of points was 144; 12 is the minimum point total.

2008 NECVA New England Division Preseason Poll

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (8)
2. Newbury College (1)
3. Rivier College (2)
4. Endicott College
5. Emmanuel College
6. Johnson and Wales University (1)
7. Elms College
8. Lasell College (Dark Horse)
9. Mount Ida College
10. Wentworth Institute of Technology
11. Lesley University
12. Southern Vermont College

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