FRIDAY, SEPT. 7 // 7:00 PM
SATURDAY, SEPT. 8 // 10:00 AM
SATURDAY, SEPT. 8 // 2:00 PM
SERIES RECORD // SUFFOLK TRAILS, 0-2
BOSTON – The Suffolk volleyball team is set for its 2018 season opener this weekend as the Rams compete at the MIT Invitational. Match one sends the blue-and-gold to Wellesley Friday, Sept. 7 for a 7 p.m. first serve with the second day of competition taking place on MIT's campus at the Rockwell Cage. Suffolk opens Saturday, Sept. 8 at 10 a.m. versus Morrisville State and wraps up action in the afternoon against Colby at 2 p.m.
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A year ago Suffolk posted the most victories (13) since 2013, becoming just the fourth team since 1996 to do so, and notched six conference wins, the most dating back to 2005.
Thanks to their 6-6 league ledger, the Rams punched their second straight ticket to the GNAC postseason, marking the first time since 2006 Suffolk has made back-to-back appearances in the conference tournament
GUESS WHO'S BACK
Nearly all of the Rams' offense from a last season is back on the hardwood. Hannah Fabiano, a third-team all-league honoree in 2017, anchors the pack after a team-leading 2.65 kps, 2.54 dps, 0.42 bps freshman campaign. Seniors Talia Lombardo (1.90 kps, 0.74 aces per set, 2.36 dps) and Bridget Allison (1.42 kps, 0.67 bps), who have been all –around contributors throughout their careers in blue-and-gold, will look to continue to provide in multiple positions in their final seasons in Boston.
Sophomore Kayla Barbera (1.62 kps) looks to improve upon her freshman numbers, while Emma Feeney, Dorothy Mensah, Chidera Nwankwo and Leah Pedersen all look to make the most of their senior seasons and help the Rams earn their third straight berth to the conference tournament.
There are just two new faces on Suffolk's 16-player roster. Maria Ponce-Crespo is the lone true freshman for the Rams, while sophomore Julia Lutts joins the ranks as a sophomore.
Suffolk's roster is comprised of 16 players representing five states and international countries. Stateside, the core of the Rams represents Massachusetts with nine players hailing from the Bay State. New Hampshire is the only other state with multiple student-athletes calling it home with two Granite State natives on roster. One Ram hails from Connecticut, Florida, and Rhode Island. The two international students are from Bolivia and the Dominican Republic.
Suffolk's squad hails from each of the four classes anchored by veteran leadership with seven seasons. Six members represent the sophomore class with a pair of juniors and one lone freshman.
A week away from first serve of the 2018 season, Suffolk volleyball head coach Scott Blanchard has announced senior Talia Lombardo has been named the sole captain for the 2018 season.
MORE READING: Lombardo Tabbed Volleyball Captain for 2018
PACING THE SIDELINES
Suffolk will be led by a new face this season as Scott Blanchard has taken over the program as its new head coach.
LIFTING THE LID
- Suffolk is 6-9 in season-opening matches in the past 15 seasons.
- Last season the Rams won their second straight season debut with a 3-1 victory at Mass. Maritime.
WATCH AND SEE
First-year head coach Scott Blanchard caught up with GoSuffolkRams.com last week to talk about the upcoming season. To hear what Blanchard had to say and get a glimpse inside a Rams' practice, click the video below.
PRESEASON POLL POSITION
With nearly every player back from one of the most successful seasons in program history, Suffolk volleyball has been selected to finish seventh by the Great Northeast Athletic Conference's (GNAC) 13 head coaches in the annual poll.
|2018 GNAC WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON POLL|
2017 GNAC RECORD
MORE READING: Volleyball Project Seventh in GNAC Preseason Poll
Wellesley lifted the lid on its season with a 3-1 triumph over Endicott Aug. 31.
The Blue received double-digit kills from Lauren Gedeny (16) and Nicole Doerges (14). Doergest chipped into the defense unit, which was led by Samantha Hoang's 17 digs, with seven digs. Michelle Li commanded the offense with an impressive 36 assists.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Suffolk and Wellesley will meet for the first time since 1994.
Morrisville State is off to a 4-1 start after hosting the Morrisville State Tournament Aug. 31 – Sept. 2. The Mustangs picked up a 3-1 victory of Hartwick and Penn State Behrend and shutout Buffalo State and Oswego. The lone setback on Morrisville's slate came in a straight set decision to MIT.
Megyan Merrill's 4.65 kills per set leads the way on the offensive side of the net for the Mustangs. Ameilia Baratier and Kirsten Florio also pitch in over 2.00 kps with 2.71 kps and 2.35 kps, respectively. Helena Hanes (7.18 aps) and Kim Dunkleman (6.64 aps) have split time with setting duties.
Defensively, Sam Wolf has held down the majority of the work, with 6.82 kps to her credit. Baratier contributs 2.58 dps to the effort with Merrill adding 2.18 dps.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Saturday's showdown marks the first meeting between the Rams and Morrisville State.
MULES MUST KNOWS
Colby got its season going with a 3-1 win over Maine Maritime Sept. 5. Prior to serving against Suffolk, the Mules will take on Endicott and Wellesley.
Paige Hanssen led Colby's attack in the season opener with 14 kills and Julia Hutchings joined her teammate in double digit kills with 12 on her stat line behind a .333 hitting percentage. Molly Manuel set up the offense with 22 assists, while Erin Maidman held down the defense with 25 digs.
INSIDE THE SERIS
- Suffolk and Colby renew a rivalry Saturday afternoon and the Rams look for their first win over the Mules.
- Suffolk last met Colby in 2014 at the MIT Invitational where it fell in four sets.
- Overall, Suffolk is 0-2 versus the Mules with the series beginning in 2004.
WHAT'S TO COME
Suffolk will play in front of its home crowd for the first time in 2018 Tuesday, Sept. 11 when it welcomes Pine Manor to Regan Gymnasium for a 7 p.m. match.
Suffolk will use back-to-back non-conference tilts versus Endicott (April 4) and at Nichols (April 5) to prep for GNAC action, which is set to begin next weekend at Albertus Magnus Saturday, April 7.