BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo volleyball team was picked to finish fourth in the MAC East, the Mid-American Conference announced today from its headquarters in Cleveland. Also for the first time the conference picked a preseason All-Conference team with UB senior Abby Niekmap being one of the choices.
The Bulls enter the 2011 season off an 18-16 record, making their second straight appearance in the MAC Tournament Quarterfinals. UB does have a lot of new faces this season with eight newcomers on the roster. Last year's MAC Champion Ohio was picked to finish first in the East with Miami picked second. Akron was picked third, with Buffalo fourth. The East is rounded out by Bowling Green and Kent State.
On the West side, Northern Illinois was picked to finish first, while also being picked as the MAC Regular Season and Tournament Champion. Ball State was picked second, followed by Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and Toledo.
Niekamp, who was named to the All-MAC Second Team last year, was one of six players named to the East Division Preseason All-MAC Team. Niekamp is joined by Tina Dimitrijevs from Akron, Paige Penrod from Bowling Green, Cassie Farrell from Miami and Katie Post and Lexie Hartnett from Ohio.
The six member West Division Team consists of Kelsey Brandl from Ball State, Kaitlyn Schultz from Central Michigan, Rachel Iaquaniello from Eastern Michigan, Lauren Wicinski and Kristin Hoffman from Northern Illinois and Western Michigan's Jessica Brown.
The Bulls open the season on Friday Sep. 26 at the Colgate Tournament against Seton Hall and Colgate.