Coast Guard and second-year head coach Eric Snyder return every starter from last year's team which won a share of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title and captured the ECAC New England Championship finishing 26-6 overall, 8-1 in conference play and a perfect 13-0 at home while earning a ranking in the AVCA Top 25 during the season.
"I am happy and proud of what we accomplished last season, but we have moved on and are looking forward to higher expectations and goals for our program," said Snyder. "We want to reach higher standards then we did a year ago."
The Bears return a trio of All-conference selections led by junior Kelsey DePorto, a NEWMAC first team selection last season, while seniors Keriann Mason and Karen Matic were both named to the NEWMAC second team a year ago.
DePorto, a middle blocker, led the team with 321 kills, a .341 hitting percentage and 117 blocks last season. Mason, an outside hitter, was second with 306 kills and 364 digs while Matic, a setter, led the team with 901 assists to go with 245 digs and 171 kills.
The senior class consists of Mason, Matic and outside hitter/middle blocker Catherine Walker, a group the Bears will count on heavily this season. Walker tied for the team lead with 42 aces last season, was second with 55 blocks and she was third on the team with 263 kills.
"The senior class is incredibly talented, they have great skill set and we will look to them for leadership and experience throughout the course of the season," said Snyder.
DePorto and Samantha Marmolejo are the two juniors on the team. Marmolejo, the starting libero, led the way with 452 digs a year ago.
"The two juniors are great players, who have competitive drive and overall intensity that will help us compete against some very challenging opponents throughout the season," said Snyder.
The Bears biggest class is the sophomore class consisting of Christina Bilodeau, Leigh Anne Brazier, Kathryn Callaghan, Kelsey Hickle and Elise Sako.
Brazier (70 kills, 52 blocks), Hickle (224 kills, 42 aces, 107 digs) and Sako (179 digs, 20 aces) all had solid seasons a year ago.
"The mix of offensive and defensive personnel in our sophomore class will assist us in a variety of different facets," said Snyder.
The Bears add a trio of freshmen to the mix this season. Maggie Hine, Emily Gilland and Ashley Dumont. "I'm excited about the new class of talented freshmen that will make immediate contributions to our team and help us achieve our goals," said Snyder.
The Bears will open the season at the very challenging Elmhurst Invitational over Labor Day weekend in Chicago where Coast Guard will play three teams ranked nationally in the Top 25. The Bears open against host and #11 Elmhurst and #15 Chicago on Aug. 31st and will also battle #12 Carthage later that weekend.
Kelsey DePorto will be blogging about the beginning of the season and the Elmhurst Invitational, to read the blog CLICK HERE
"We are playing a more challenging non-conference schedule on top of the already tough NEWMAC portion of the schedule," said Snyder. "If we continue to put forth the effort that we have in the preseason and we are able to blend the returning veterans with the young group of talented freshmen we will be able to make a run at the NEWMAC tournament and another postseason berth."