UMBC Picked 1st in #AEWSOC Preseason Poll
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — After winning its first America East title in program history last year, the UMBC Retrievers have been picked as the favorite in the 2014 women's soccer preseason coaches' poll, the conference office announced Wednesday afternoon. The voting was conducted by the conference’s nine head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
The Retrievers edged out Stony Brook by just a single point in the poll, receiving four first-place votes and 59 points. The Seawolves also received four first-place votes and totaled 58 points to come in second. Maine received the lone remaining first-place vote and was picked third with 49 points.
Hartford came in fourth with 47 points, followed by New Hampshire in fifth with 32 points, Vermont in sixth with 30 points, Binghamton in seventh with 26 points, Albany in eighth with 13 points and UMass Lowell in ninth with 10 points. Here the full poll:
2014 Preseason Poll (1st-place votes)
1. UMBC (4), 59 pts.
2. Stony Brook (4), 58
3. Maine (1), 49
4. Hartford, 47
5. New Hampshire, 32
6. Vermont, 30
7. Binghamton, 26
8. Albany, 13
9. UMass Lowell 10
Preview each of the teams below --
1. UMBC Retrievers
2013 record: 13-6-2, 6-2-0, AE Champion (T-1st)
- UMBC completed the biggest turnaround in America East history in 2013, earning a share of the regular-season title and claiming their first tournament crown with a 2-1 win over Stony Brook in the final.
- The Retrievers return a strong core the includes 15 letterwinners and nine starters from last year's squad.
- Among the returners are the top-two scorers in Alex Quaranta (8 g, 1 a) and Jessy Brown (7 g, 3 a). Brown was the America East Co-Midfielder of the Year in 2013.
- Head coach Leslie Wray enters her third seasn with a 14-17-7 record.
2. Stony Brook Seawolves
2013 record: 11-6-2, 6-2-0, AE Runner-Up (T-1st)
- The Seawolves earned a share of the America East regular-season title for the first time in program history last year before falling to UMBC, 2-1, in the conference title game.
- Stony Brook has advanced to the title game in each of the past two years, including claiming the crown in 2012 as a No. 6 seed.
- The Seawolves return 19 letterwinners and welcome 13 newcomers to the Long Island campus.
- Head coach Sue Ryan begins her 30th year at the helm and has compiled a record a 218-267-49.
3. Maine Black Bears
2013 record: 9-5-5, 5-2-1, AE Semifinals (3rd)
- Maine has been one of the most consistent teams throughout the years in the conference, qualifying for 11 of the last 12 America East tournaments.
- The Black Bears return the team's leading scorer in Eve L'Abbe, who tallied five goals and added three assists last year.
- The team will have to replace 2013 America East Defender of the Year, Maggie Malone, who helped the team hold opponents to just 0.89 goals per game, good for second in the conference.
- Head coach Scott Atherley enters his 15th season with the Black Bears and is the all-time winningest coach in school history.
4. Hartford Hawks
2013 record: 11-6-3, 5-3-0, AE Semifinals (4th)
- The Hawks are the all-time winningest team in America East history with 124 conference regular-season victories to go with seven conference titles.
- Hartford returns a pair of conference major award winners including Striker of the Year Chanel Johnson and Co-Midfielder of the Year Stephanie Santos.
- The Hawks returns Raelynn Mikell, who anchored a strong back line that led the conference in goals against average while posting 10 shutouts in 2013.
- Head coach John Natale enters his 11th season as head coach. He has helped the Hawks reach the America East semifinals in three-straight seasons.
5. New Hampshire Wildcats
2013 record: 4-8-6, 2-3-3, DNQ, (7th)
- First-year head coach Steve Welham begins his tenure with the Wildcats in 2014 and is a familiar face to the America East after spending eight years as an assistant at Stony Brook.
- New Hampshire has qualified for the postseason 14 times, including a conference-record streak of 12 consecutive appearances from 2001-2012.
- Junior back/midfielder Kirsten O'Neil is the team's leading returning-scorer with five goals and three assists.
6. Vermont Catamounts
2013 record: 6-9-3, 3-3-2, AE Quarterfinals (5th)
- Vermont is coming off its most wins since 2005 with six last year and adds nine newcomers from seven different states for the 2014 campaign.
- The Catamounts return one of the top scoring threats in the leauge in Nikki McFarland, who tallied six goals and two assists last season on her way to being named the America East Rookie of the Year.
- Head coach Kristi Lefebvre enters her fourth season in Burlington and became the first head coach in Catamount history to lead the team to three-straight America East playoff appearances.
7. Binghamton Bearcats
2013 record: 8-8-2, 3-4-1, AE Quarterfinals (6th)
- Binghamton brings back seven starters and 19 returning letterwinners from a squard that reached the America East quarterfinals in 2013.
- The Bearcats will be anchored defensively by all-conference defender Connie Gormley while also bringing back offensive catalyst Rebecca Raber, a first-team all-conference pick last year.
- Head coach Sarah McClellan enters her seventh season with the Bearcats. Binghamton has qualified for postseason play eight times in the last 10 years and is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the team's 2004 conference title.
8. Albany Great Danes
2013 record: 2-14-1, 1-6-1, DNQ, (8th)
- Head coach Caitlin Cucchiella begins her second season with the Great Danes and welcomes her first-ever recruiting class that includes seven newcomers.
- Alana Brennan, Celia Balf and Kelly Kempf will be the team captains for the Great Danes. Brennan led the conference last year making 7.27 saves per game.
- Alexa Schneider is the team's leading returning scorer, totaling three goals and two assists last year.
9. UMass Lowell River Hawks
2013 record: 1-16-1, 1-7-0, DNQ, (9th)
- UMass Lowell earned one victory in the teams' first season at the Division I level, upsetting UMBC, 3-2, in double OT.
- Joel Bancroft enters his first season as head coach of the River Hawks after serving as an assistant for UMass Lowell in 2013.
- Taylor Packwood is the team's leading returning scorer, tallying three goals last year.