EYES ON THE MATCH
EYES ON THE MATCH
EYES ON THE MATCH
BOSTON – The 24th edition of Suffolk volleyball begins this weekend when the Rams take their talents to Babson Park, Massachusetts, for the Babson Invitational. The blue-and-gold's first serve in 2019 will come Friday, Aug. 30 versus UMaine Presque with action continuing the following day, Saturday, Aug. 31 inside Staake Gymnasium against Manhattanville (12 p.m.) and tournament host No. 20 Babson (2 p.m.)
LET'S TALK ABOUT #RAMNATION
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Suffolk built a 12-17 campaign a year ago, with the most league victories (7-5) since 2005.
The Rams punched its ticket to the conference's postseason for the third straight season and did so as the fifth seed, the highest finish for Suffolk since 2005. In the bracket, the blue-and-gold upset No. 4 Lasell in sweeping fashion to advance to the semifinals for the first-time in program history.
GUESS WHO'S BACK
Despite the departure of the seven-members of Suffolk's Class of 2019, the Rams welcome back core leadership and experience in juniors Kayla Barbera (2.54 dps, 2.09 kps, 0.39 aces per set), Hannah Fabiano (2.16 kps, 1.02 dps), Dakhensey Marcellus (4.50 dps) and Ashley Fahey (1.30 dps, 0.21 aces per set) and senior Sarah Mullahy (0.39 bps, 0.94 kps).
MORE READING: Fabiano, Mullahy to Captain Volleyball in 2019
Nine incoming student-athletes will join the Rams' ranks this season.
The group features two Newbury transfers in juniors Stephanie Rheaume and Monica Bolduk, a pair of sophomores Christina Hickey and Chryssabella Jones-Craig and five true freshmen Kenzley Bell, Harmony Johnson, Michelle Lo, Emerson Martin and Jordan Smith.
MORE READING: Rookie Rams: 2019 Volleyball
PACING THE SIDELINES
Scott Blanchard burst onto the scene at Suffolk and made an immediate impact as the Rams head coach, leading the blue-and-gold to its first-ever GNAC semifinal run in program history in his first season in 2018.
Suffolk's 16 players represent seven states. The core of the Rams are Massachusetts natives with seven student-athletes hailing from the Bay State. New Hampshire is the only other state with multiple players calling it home with a quartet of Granite State natives on roster. One player hails from California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia and Rhode Island.
Suffolk's squad hails from each of the four classes anchored by the seven-member junior class. Five members are true freshmen with a pair of both sophomores and seniors, respectively, rounding out the ranks.
Suffolk's 30-match slate is centered around a 12-contest conference calendar with a pair of 2018 NCAA Division III Championship participants on the calendar as well as 12 home matches at the Michael E. and Larry S. Smith Court.
THAT'S A FIRST
Suffolk will square off against fresh competition this season in Manhattanville at the Babson I Invitational Saturday, Aug. 31 at 12 p.m.
LIFTING THE LID
Notes are based off record books, which are missing game-by-game results for three seasons -- 2000, 2001 and 2002.
- Suffolk is 7-13 in season openers.
- The Rams look to return to the win column for the first time in the Scott Blanchard era and first since 2017.
- The Rams will compete on neutral hardwood in the first match of the year for the second straight season and eighth time overall. Suffolk is 2-3 when playing on a neutral playing field in the initial outing of the year.
- Suffolk and UMaine Presque will meet for the second-time in the Rams' season opener. The blue-and-gold and the Owls last met on day one of the season to lift the lid of the 2004 season when Suffolk defeated UMPI in straight sets.
To be the best you have to beat the best. The Rams have their work cut out for themselves as two top-25 opponents are featured on their schedule.
Suffolk will be tested from the get go with a AVCA Top-2 opponent opening weekend at the Babson Invitational when it takes on the host Beavers, who are featured on the preseason poll at No. 20, Saturday, Aug. 31, at 2 p.m.
On Wednesday, Oct. 9, the Rams will face off with another national powerhouse when it serves off versus the favorite conference contender Johnson & Wales, who is featured at No. 8 in the first poll of the season.
LACE UP FOR PEDIATRIC CANCER
Suffolk will play for a cause Saturday, Sept. 28 when the Rams Lace Up for pediatric Cancer in a home tri-match against Norwich and Western New England.
Second-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.
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
Following its semifinal showing a year ago, the Suffolk volleyball team was tabbed to finish fifth in the 2019 GNAC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
For the first time in program history, the Rams broke into the league's preseason top five after garnering 110 points from the conference's 13 head coaches.
|2019 GNAC WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON POLL|
2018 GNAC RECORD
MORE READING: Volleyball Spotted Fifth in GNAC Preseason Coaches' Poll
Maine Presque Isle is coming off a 10-17 season that saw three student-athletes garner All-North Atlantic Conference honors.
Two-thirds of last season's all-conference players are back in the Owls lineup in juniors Maddi Thweatt and Miranda Washinawatok. Washianwatok, a middle blocker, anchored UMPI's 6.98 kps offense with a team-best 2.81 kps to her credit to go along with a 0.49 aces per set at the service line, which were good for a share of second on the squad. Defensively, she added 2.87 dps to the effort. Thweatt, meanwhile, contributed 2.83 dps as an outside hitter.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Suffolk and UMPI will meet for the second time, first since 2004, and first with Scott Blanchard on the Rams' bench.
- The Rams own the victory in the series with the Owls as the blue-and-gold swept Maine Presque Isle to lift the lid on the 2004 season.
Manhattanville, who is coming off a 9-13 campaign, gets its season going Friday, Aug. 30 versus Babson and will take on Maine Presque Isle before taking on Suffolk Saturday, Aug. 31 at 12 p.m.
The Valiants will look to be led by junior libero Monica Lopez. The two-time All-Middle Atlantic Conference selection, who has been among NCAA Division III leaders with digs per set over the last two seasons. A year ago, she posted 5.96 dps.
Joining Lopez back in the line-up is senior outside hitter Austen Brauer, who provided 2.41 kps to Manhattanville's 9.96 kps. Overall though, the Valiants will have a new feel as the roster is comprised of 12 underclassmen divided in half by true freshmen (6) and sophomores (6).
INSIDE THE SERIES
- Suffolk and Manhattanville will meet for the first time.
Babson, who is ranked 20th in the AVCA preseason poll, welcomes back a dozen players from its 26-9 squad a year ago that captured the Babson Park Regional title in the 2018 NCAA Division III Championship before falling in the quarterfinals.
The Beaver's experience features two All-American selections from a year ago in setter Elizabeth Cameron (9.42 assists per set) and Allie Puccio (3.57 kps). Kristen Carostto and Gaby Miller were also consistent contributors to Babson's impressive 12.65 kps offense.
Defensively, the Beavers graduated its starting libero. Despite the departure, there are still a quartet of veteran defensive specialists back in green and white, three of which averaged two digs per set a year ago in Maddie Malee (2.41 dps), Samantha Hardan (2.25 dps) and Cassidy Witten (2.07 dps).
INSIDE THE SERIS
- Suffolk and Babson renew a non-conference rivalry with Saturday's showdown marking the foes 11th overall meeting and first since 2012.
- The Rams trail the all-time series, 2-8.
- Babson has won the last six meetings with Suffolk.
- The blue-and-gold's last victory over the Beavers came in five sets Oct. 14, 2004.
- Both of Suffolk's wins against Babson were five-set thrillers.
- The Rams picked up both five-set matches in the series, while the Beavers have swept Suffolk five times.
- In four set matches, Suffolk is 0-3 versus Babson.
WHAT'S TO COME
Suffolk has the week to prep for its first tri-match of the year which sends the Rams to Waterville, Maine Saturday, Sept. 7. The Rams will take on Colby and Salem State.