Wildcats Picked Eighth in Preseason BIG EAST Poll
Aug. 21, 2012
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--Villanova has been predicted to finish eighth in the BIG EAST in 2012 in the annual preseason poll of league head coaches. Later this week the Wildcats open the new season by hosting the Villanova Classic on the refurbished Jake Nevin Field House floor.
The top eight teams in the conference standings at the end of the regular season qualify for the BIG EAST Championship and the Wildcats position in the preseason poll means that coaches around the league see a return to the conference tournament for Villanova, which went 17-13 last season and tied for fourth place in the standings with an 8-6 league record.
Despite graduating seven players from last year's team - including four starters - the Wildcats can still draw on a great deal of talent from their eight returning players as well as seven newcomers with the potential to make an immediate impact.
Senior outside hitter Krista Andersen (Lakeland, Fla.) is the top returning player for Villanova after averaging 2.50 kills per game in 2011 with totals of 282 kills and 303.5 points. Junior outside hitter Carly Edwards (Okemos, Mich.) and senior middle blocker CeCe Twitty (Scottsdale, Ariz.) combined for 177 kills and 58 blocks last year and will have a chance for increased roles this season.
Defensively the Wildcats are faced with the task of replacing All-American Kim Maroon, whose 749 digs last season are a BIG EAST single-season record. Villanova returns junior defensive specialist Mariah Henley (Hockessin, Del.), who played all but four sets last season while contributing 2.55 digs per set.
Louisville received 12 out of a possible 14 first-place votes and was predicted to win the BIG EAST regular season title with a total of 168 points in the preseason poll. Marquette followed with 150 points and one first-place vote and Notre Dame (140) rounded out the top three. Cincinnati (one first-place vote, 139 points) was fourth, while Syracuse (112), Pittsburgh (96) and Seton Hall (88) also were picked in front of the Wildcats, who had 83 points.
The bottom six in the poll included USF (75), Connecticut (72), Georgetown (60), St. John's (33), DePaul (31) and Rutgers (27).
Villanova opens the 2012 season against Maryland on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.