Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stony Brook picked Second in 2013 Women's Soccer Preaseason poll

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — After finishing second in the America East women’s soccer standings last year, the University of Hartford has been picked as the favorite in the 2013 preseason coaches’ poll, the conference office announced on Tuesday afternoon. The voting was conducted by the conference’s nine head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams.

The Hawks edged out reigning America East tournament champions, Stony Brook, by just two points, receiving five first-place votes and 61 points compared to four first-place votes and 59 points for the Seawolves.

University of Maine came in third with 49 points, followed by University of Vermont in fourth with 38 points and University of New Hampshire in fifth with 35 points. University at Albany edged out Binghamton University in sixth by only one point, receiving 29 and 28 points respectively. UMBC (15) and UMass Lowell (8) rounded out the nine-team poll.

The six-team America East Championship begins with quarterfinal action on Oct. 31 and continues with the semifinal round on Nov. 3. The conference champion will be crowned on either Nov. 9 or 10 with the winner of the tournament receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship, where America East teams have 11 all-time wins.

Hartford is coming off an 11-5-3 mark last season, including 6-2-0 in conference play before falling to Stony Brook, 1-0, in the America East title game. The Hawks will have to replace eight seniors, including stanout Amelia Pereira who scored 13 goals and totaled 33 points to lead the conference last season. Also among those seniors was goalkeeper Erin Quinlan, who allowed just 21 goals in 37 career games. Sophomore forward Elise Galipo is the team’s top-returning offensive threat, totaling four goals and three assists last season. She is joined by senior returners Arielle Aikens and Raelynn Mikell while the Hawks welcome 13 new faces. Hartford begins the year Aug. 23 at home against Bryant.

Stony Brook (12-7-3, 3-4-1) became the first No. 6 seed and the second-lowest seed in any America East sport to capture a conference title, beating Hartford on the road, 1-0. The Seawolves bring back a very strong core including All-Conference Second Team selections in forward Larissa Nysch and defender Ahriel Fernandez. Also returning are All-Rookie performers Tessa Deveraux and Raven Edwards. Stony Brook led the conference in scoring, averaging 1.64 goals per game, with Nysch pacing the attack with nine goals and four assists. The Seawolves open the season on the road at Seton Hall on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.

Maine (7-7-3, 3-3-2) finished third in the regular-season in 2012, its highest finish since 2009. The Black Bears also earned their first major award since 2009 when Charlene Achille was named Rookie of the Year. Also an All-Conference Second Team selection, she finished the year with two goals and three assists while controlling the midfield for Maine. Joining Achille on the All-Rookie team was teammate Noelle Leon-Palmer, who started all 17 games as a defender. Maine opens the season against Holy Cross on Aug. 23 at Deering High School in Portland.

Vermont (4-13-2, 3-4-1) qualified for the America East Championship for the second-straight year after missing the conference tournament four-straight seasons. The Catamounts kick-off the season by hosting the TD Bank Classic at Virtue Field, hosting Sacred Heart at 4 p.m. on Aug. 23. Vermont earned its first win in the America East Championship, defeating Albany in penalty kicks in the quarterfinals before falling to Hartford in the semifinals.

New Hampshire (5-12-2, 3-4-1), under first-year head coach Sam Lopes, is looking to advance in the America East Championship for the first time since 2006 despite qualifying for the playoffs in each of the last five seasons. All-Rookie selection Kirstyn Corder is the team’s top returning scorer, tallying five goals and three assists last year.

Albany (6-10-3, 3-4-1) enters its first season under head coach Caitlin Colfer who will begin her tenure with the Great Danes on Aug. 23 at Florida Atlantic. She inherits a team that earned the No. 5 seed in the 2012 America East Championship, falling on the road at Vermont in penalty kicks. Albany welcomes 13 newcomers to go wtih 15 returning players for 2013.

Binghamton (8-8-1, 2-5-1) has reached the semifinals four times in six years but did not qualify for the America East Championship last season. The Bearcats open the season on the road at Siena on Aug. 25.

UMBC (1-11-5, 0-5-3) beings its second season under Leslie Wray, who returns nine starters and 14 letterwinners, including All-Conference Second Team goalkeeper Lauren Kadet and All-Rookie Team honoree Amira Walcott.

UMass Lowell begins its first season at the Division I level with six returning starters and 15 letterwinners. The River Hawks start their new era of Division I play on Aug. 29 at Marist College. On the slate also is a 2012 regular season co-champion, one tournament champion, two conference runners-up and three of the top six teams in the Ivy League.

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