CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-- America East field hockey continues to improve and the official NCAA rating percentage index shows the league is among the elite conferences in the country. America East finished third after another impressive season.
Only the ACC and Big Ten finished higher than America East in the RPI. The league improved one spot from last year's final ranking, jumping over the Big East and remaining above the competitive Colonial Athletic Association.
Four conference teams finished in the top 25, including 2011 America East Champion University of New Hampshire which is ranked 12. Other conference tournament participants Albany (14), Boston U. (17) and Maine (23) followed. All six teams landed in the top 50.
America East teams also made a mark in the final 2011 NCAA statistics. Maine finished first in Division I with 4.45 goals and 12.25 points per game.
Three America East field hockey players ranked among the top-10 national leaders in points. UNH senior teammates Hayley Rausch and Whitney Frates finished second and third with 2.82 and 2.71 points per game, respectively. Maine's Kelly Newton, who also topped the nation in assists with 1.25 per game, finished seventh in Division I with 2.55 points per game.
In net, Albany junior Kristi Troch earned a 1.34 goals-against average which ranked ninth in the country. Boston U. freshman goalkeeper Valentina Cerda followed in 10th with a 1.5 GAA. Vermont's Stephanie Zygmunt made 9.65 saves per game to rank third, while Cerda (eighth) and Zygmunt (10th) each finished in the top-10 with save percentages of .778 and .777.
Other Notes: UNH Robin Balducci was named the 2011 Dita/NFHCA Division I Northeast Region Coach of the Year after leading the Wildcats to a 17-5 record and the NCAA Tournament. Balducci and her staff also won the America East Coaching Staff of the Year... Albany ranked third as a team nationally with 9.5 penalty corners per game, fifth with 0.35 shutouts per game, and ninth with a GAA of 1.25... Maine also ranked third in scoring margin (+2.79) and assists per game (3.35), fifth in shutouts per game along with Albany, sixth with 9.05 penalty corners per game, and eighth in winning percentage (.800)... The Wildcats also ranked high in offensive categories, finishing ninth with 3.55 goals per game and 10th in points per game (9.86)... Vermont's 9.76 saves per game was fifth-highest in NCAA Division I.