EDISON, N.J. - The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) announced their 2012 volleyball preseason coaches' poll on Thursday, with Marist picked to finish sixth. The Red Foxes received 60 points in the poll, just three points behind fifth-place Canisius and nine points behind fourth-place Siena.
Last year's regular season and MAAC Tournament runner-up, Fairfield, took the top spot in the poll. Three-time defending champion Niagara was picked to finish second. Manhattan and Siena rounded out the top four. Canisius finished just ahead of the Red Foxes in fifth. The two teams finished in a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot, with the Golden Griffins advancing on the third tiebreaker. Iona, Loyola (Md.), Rider and Saint Peter's completed the poll.
Marist is looking to qualify for the MAAC Tournament for the first time since 2009, when they advanced to their first MAAC Championship game as the fourth seed. In 2010, all 10 teams reached the MAAC Tournament as it was held at Disney's Wide World of Sports. Marist entered as the seventh seed and earned a victory over eighth-seeded Siena in the consolation round. The Red Foxes were picked fifth at the beginning of the 2011 season and went on to the fourth-place tie, just missing out on the MAAC Tournament.
"I think that, going into this season, it is going to be a dogfight amongst the top six teams," Marist Head Coach Tom Hanna said. "Knowing this conference over the last six years, we are getting deeper as a conference and it now takes more wins to qualify for the MAAC Tournament. Being in the top six is great, but we are trying to make sure we are in the top four at the end of the season."
2012 MAAC Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Fairfield - 97 points
2. Niagara - 80
3. Manhattan - 73
4. Siena - 69
5. Canisius - 63
6. MARIST - 60
7. Iona - 45
8. Loyola (Md.) - 31
9. Rider - 21
10. Saint Peter's - 11