Westfield State's volleyball team has been picked to finish third in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference in the preseason poll of the league's coaches.
The Owls finished third in the regular season a year ago, but made a run to the title game of the league tournament before falling to Worcester State in the championship game.
Worcester was picked to top the league with 44 points and three first place votes, while Framingham was second with 43 points and four first place votes. The Owls totalled 37 points and received the other first-place vote.
Westfield could be primed for a strong season, as the Owls return senior libero Lizzie Taylor, a first team All-Conference pick in 2017 who missed all of last season due to injury, as well as fifth-year senior Brianna Starkey, who holds a year of eligibility after not playing during her freshman year. Starkey was an All_Conference pick in each of the last two seasons. The Owls also return much of the nucleus of last season's team, including All-Conference libero Jess Haradon.
The Owls will open the 2019 campaign on August 30 with a match against Brandeis University at the Springfield Invitational Tournament. The Owls will face Springfield and Skidmore on Saturday, August 31.