Sept. 5, 2006
Harrison, N.Y. - Defending conference champion Dowling College was the unanimous choice as the favorite to reclaim the conference title in 2006, according to the preseason poll of the league's coaches. Adelphi was selected to finish seventh in the conference after posting a 13-17 mark in 2005.
The ECC coaches also selected pre-season individual awards. Mercy senior outside hitter Mariola St. Fleur (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) was named preseason Player of the Year. During the 2005 season, she helped her team earn a birth to the NCAA tournament in 2005 and was selected for Second Team All- Conference honors.
Golden Lions teammates, senior outside hitters Irina Belozerova (St. Petersburg, Russia) and Marta Slodnik (Gdynia, Poland), along with senior libero Ashley DoEpp (Angola,NY), also received pre-season All-Conference honors. Other All-Conference selections were Adelphi's junior middle hitter Lauren Flanagan (Boulder, CO), and NYIT's sophomore outside hitter, Zeynip Isik (Izmir, Turkey).
"Women's Volleyball is one of our flagship sports", said Ed Manetta, NYCAC Commissioner. "Three schools advanced to the NCAA Regionals again in 2005 and we are looking for big things again this year."
Belozerova's honors for the 2005 season include Conference Player of the Year, First Team All- Northeast Region and AVCA Third Team All-American. She led the team with 126 total blocks and helped Dowling to their first final eight appearance in the NCAA tournament.
This is Slodnik's second year as a preseason all conference selection. Last season she returned midway through the season, averaged 3.65 kills per game, and was named to the NCAA Northeast Region tournament team. In 2004 she received AVCA Third Team All-American, AVCA All-Northeast Region, and first team all-conference honors.
DoEpp was named Second Team All-Conference in 2005 for a second year. She appeared in 123 games as a libero and averaged a team high 3.18 digs per game for the Golden Lions last season.
Adelphi's Flanagan was a Third team all conference selection in 2005 and earned conference all-academic honors for her second time. She led the Panthers in solo blocks (32) and total blocks (73), and finished second on the team in kills with 243.
Zeynep Isik was the Conference Rookie of the year and a Second Team All Conference selection in 2005. She appeared in all 114 games for the Bears last year leading the team in kills (476) while helping her team to a fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Isik earned All-Northeast Region Rookie of the Year honors in 2005 as well.
2006 ECC WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON POLL
4. New Haven
8. C.W. Post
Preseason Player of the Year:
Mariola St. Fleur, Mercy, Jr., OH
Preseason All-Conference Team:
Irina Belozerova, Dowling, Sr., OH
Ashley, DoEpp, Dowling, Sr., Libero
Laura Flanagan, Adelphi, Jr., MH
Zeynep Isik, NYIT, So., OH
Marta Slodnik, Dowling, Sr., OH
Lauren Flanagan was a third-team All-ECC selection in 2005.