Head Coach Robert Talley returns 15 starters and seven All-Northeast-10 performers from his 2013 squad which claimed a share of the NE-10 regular season title. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)
Skyhawks seek return trip to NE-10 Championship as 2014 season nears
EASTON, Mass. (August 25, 2014) – Stonehill College has been picked to finish third in the Northeast-10 Conference football preseason poll, as selected by the league's ten head coaches, the Conference office announced today.
Stonehill collected 67 points, including a first place vote, to earn its No. 3 preseason ranking by the league coaches – its highest NE-10 preseason ranking in program history. The Skyhawks received one less point than the University of New Haven (68 points) who is picked second, while defending Conference champions American International College picked up 81 points and the remaining nine first place votes. Assumption College and Merrimack College (47 points each) are picked tied for fourth, while LIU Post (44 points) is picked sixth, Southern Connecticut State University (37 points) is seventh, Bentley University (31 points) eighth, Saint Anselm College (19 points) ninth and Pace University (nine points) rounds out the poll in tenth.
Stonehill returns 73 letter winners and 15 starters from last year's squad which posted its best season in nearly 20 years with an 8-3 record overall, including an 8-1 mark in the Northeast-10 to earn a share of its first NE-10 regular season championship. The Skyhawks posted their first winning season since an 8-2 campaign in 1996 and fell a win shy of the single-season program record of nine in 1995. Stonehill finished above .500 in NE-10 play for the second-straight year and third time in head coach Robert Talley's seven seasons at the helm.
Stonehill appeared among teams receiving votes in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll for the first time in program history and was ranked in each of the NCAA Division II Super Region 1 rankings last fall. Stonehill finished ranked sixth in the final ECAC Lambert Meadowlands poll, after being ranked as high as fifth during the breakthrough campaign.
Heading the list of returnees for Stonehill this fall are senior All-America linebacker Brian Harrington (Rockland, Massachusetts/Rockland), who earned the Joseph P. Zabilski Defensive Player of the Year Award from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston, on the defensive side of the ball and senior wide receiver Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Massachusetts/Attleboro), a Daktronics All-Super Region 1 selection last fall, on the offensive side.
Seven of Stonehill's program record eight All-Northeast-10 selections from 2013 return this fall. In addition to Harrington and Robitaille, senior offensive lineman Tom Linden (Durham, Connecticut/Xavier) and punter Ryan Handy (Howell, New Jersey/Howell) earned first team All-NE-10 honors last fall, while senior defensive backs Sterry Codrington (Freehold, New Jersey/Freehold Boro) and Nate Morris (Providence, Rhode Island/Wheeler School) as well as junior placekicker Steve Grzywacz (Manchester, New Hampshire/Manchester Central) all earned second team All-Conference honors.
Stonehill opens its 2014 season on Saturday, September 6, when it hosts Bloomsburg (Pa.) University, ranked 24th in the AFCA Division II preseason poll, at W.B. Mason Stadium at 1 p.m. The Skyhawks open their NE-10 campaign the following Friday, September 12, at rival Bentley University at 7 p.m.