NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's field hockey team has been picked to finish first in the annual Little East Conference Coaches' Poll.
The defending champion Corsairs, who were picked to finish second last season after being picked first in each in each of the previous two years, received eight of the 12 first-place votes and 139 points. Keene State, last year's LEC runner-up, received one first place vote and 128 points. Plymouth State received two first place votes and 117 points, while Bridgewater State received the other first place vote and 109 points.
Westfield State and Southern Maine were next with 79 and 76 points, respectively, while Western Connecticut State and Salem State were seventh and eighth with 62 and 60 points. Worcester State, Fitchburg State, Framingham State and Eastern Connecticut State held down the final four positions.
"As a head coach, I come into each season with the mentality of winning, otherwise, I wouldn't be coaching," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Nicole (Castonguay) Maher. "I anticipate a challenging season within the conference. We have our work cut out for us; however, we do have the coaching staff and roster to do great things. We are certainly up for the challenge, and will use this poll to encourage and motivate us throughout the rest of these rigorous pre-season days. Now, especially, we have a bulls eye on us, and I will be reminding my players of that daily as I push them to play to a higher level than ever before."
The Corsairs were 17-6 last season, advancing to the first round of the NCAA Division III Championships. UMass Dartmouth opens their season against Trinity at home September 4th.
UMASS DARTMOUTH FIELD HOCKEY
LITTLE EAST CONFERENCE PRE-SEASON FIELD HOCKEY POLL
FIRST PLACE VOTES TOTAL POINTS
1-UMass Dartmouth 8 139
2-Keene State 1 128
3-Plymouth State 2 117
4-Bridgewater State 1 109
5-Westfield State 79
6-Southern Maine 76
7-Western Connecticut State 62
8-Salem State 60
9-Worcester State 53
10-Fitchburg State 46
11-Framingham State 40
12-Eastern Connecticut State 22