4 #AEFH Teams featured in NFHCA Preseason Poll
Two America East field hockey teams are ranked and two others are receiving votes in the National Field Hockey Coaches' Association (NFHCA) Preseason Top-20, the organization announced Tuesday.
The reigning America East champion Albany Great Danes led all conference teams at No. 9 in the poll. It is the second straight season that UAlbany has started the year ranked in the top-10 of the preseason poll. The Great Danes began 2015 ranked at #7. The East Division favorites have stood in the top-10 in every poll since the start of the 2015 season, finishing at #9 last season.
Stanford is at No. 11 in the poll, the second highest preseason ranking in program history, only behind 2015 where the Cardinal started ranked 6th. The ranking marks the seventh season in a row Stanford has been recognized in the poll. The Cardinal will face five teams ranked in the preseason poll, including No. 2 Syracuse, No. 3 Connecticut, No. 8 Boston College, No. 10 Michigan and No. 16 Northwestern. Last year, Stanford reached the NCAA tournament for the sixth-straight season, receiving an at-large bid.
Both Maine and Pacific are receiving votes in the poll. The Black Bears are the first team out of the poll receiving 93 points. Maine has three opponents ranked in the top 20, North Carolina received the top spot with 915 points (16 first place votes), the Black Bears take on the Tar Heels September 18. The Black Bears were recently selected as the second place team in the east division of the America East pre-season poll.
Pacific received 42 points in the poll, marking the first time in program history that the Tigers have broken into the rankings. The season begins for Pacific this Sunday at 2:00 pm against the No. 3 Connecticut Huskies at the Pacific Field Hockey Turf.