Fredericksburg, Va. –The St. Mary’s College of Maryland volleyball team was picked eighth in the 2018 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Preseason Coaches Poll, released Tuesday morning.

WATCH: CAC Volleyball Preseason Poll Video·READ: CAC Volleyball Preseason Poll Release

St. Mary’swill look to bounce back after a disappointing three-win season in 2017. Third-year head coachKelly Martinis excited to blend a strong veteran nucleus with seven talented and eager newcomers. The Seahawks will have a sound defensive base with the return of senior liberoMarissa Dangler(Smithsburg, Md./Smithsburg), who led the conference last year with 5.32 digs per set.

In addition, the team’s top two hitters –seniorsMeghan Kelley(Ellicott City, Md./Centennial) andHannah Krauss(Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) – are back to lead the offense.Kelleytallied 256 kills last fall whileKraussadded 139 plus a team third-best 43 blocks.

The Seahawks missed out on a berth in the CAC Tournament last season; however, with the reconfiguration of the conference, all eight teams will qualify for postseason play in 2018. The CAC championship match is set for Saturday, November 3.

Christopher Newport University, the defending CAC champion, topped the preseason poll after finishing 28-4 (9-0 CAC) last fall and falling in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship Tournament. St. Mary’s posted 11 points, just two points behind seventh-place Penn State Harrisburg.

The Seahawks will hit the road to get their 2018 campaign underway, heading south to Virginia Beach, Va., for the two-day Virginia Wesleyan University Invitational this Friday and Saturday.

The full preseason coaches’ poll is listed below with first-place votes in parenthesis.

2018 CAC Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Christopher Newport

48 points (6)

2. Mary Washington

44 points (2)

3. Salisbury

34 points

4. York (Pa.)

29 points

5. Southern Virginia

26 points

6. Frostburg State

19 points

7. Penn State Harrisburg

13 points

8. St. Mary’s (Md.)

11 points

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By Nairem Moran ·nmoran@smcm.edu