Stonehill Picked to Repeat as NE-10 Regular Season Champions

Skyhawks chosen atop NE-10 field hockey preseason coaches' poll

Junior Kathryn Nelson is the Skyhawks top returning scorer after ranking third on the team with 11 goals in 2009. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr).

EASTON, Mass. (August 11, 2010) – Defending Northeast-10 Conference regular season champion Stonehill College has been picked to repeat that feat as voted by the NE-10's 11 head coaches as the Conference released its 2010 field hockey preseason coaches' poll today.

Stonehill received five of 11 first-place votes from the NE-10's head coaches, compiling 94 points to edge the University of Massachusetts Lowell which also collected five first place votes for 91 points. Rival Bentley University is picked third with 83 points, while Adelphi University is fourth (74 points), receiving the remaining first place tally.

Stonehill and third-year head coach Shelly Morris, the 2009 NE-10 and Dita/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) North Region Coach of the Year, returns 19 letterwinners, including seven starters, from last year's squad which posted a 17-4 record overall and a 9-1 clip in Conference play to capture the second NE-10 regular season title in program history. The Skyhawks, ranked third in the final regular season Kookaburra/NFHCA Division II poll, earned their third NCAA Tournament bid and were named the top seed in the North Region, serving as host of the 2009 NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championships for the first time in program history. In addition to their second national semifinal appearance in program history, Stonehill was also NE-10 Tournament finalists this season as well.

Senior Courtney Osier led the NE-10 in GAA and shutouts last fall. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Stonehill will be looking to replace three All-Americans lost to graduation, which helped account for 55-percent of the Skyhawks goal scoring output in 2009. All-Americans Claire Hourihan and Jackie Ladino netted 20 and 12 goals last fall, respectively, for the Skyhawks. All-American Stephanie Kott, the NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year, and backline mate Ashley March were key members of a defensive unit which led the Conference with a 1.13 team goals against average and six shutouts.

Leading the list of returnees for Stonehill this fall will be senior Lindsay Pinkham (Skowhegan, Maine/Skowhegan Area), a second team All-Northeast-10 selection last season, posting five goals and five assists from the midfield. Junior Kathryn Nelson (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) is the Skyhawks top returning scorer after ranking third on the 2009 squad with 11 goals (10th NE-10) and three assists for 25 points. Senior Courtney Foley (Wakefield, Mass./Wakefield Memorial) contributed six goals and seven assists (7th) for 19 points.

Senior goaltender Courtney Osier (South Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth) returns after playing all but 60:33 in goal in 2009, posting an NE-10 best 1.03 goals against average and six shutouts with a .676 save percentage (9th NE-10) in 1,494:27. Senior back Laura Noce (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) heads the list of defensive returnees for the Skyhawks.

Stonehill opens its 2010 season with six-straight home contests, starting Saturday, September 4, when four-time defending NCAA Division II Champions Bloomsburg (Pa.) University returns to W.B. Mason Stadium where it defeated UMass Lowell in the National Championship match last November, to take on the Skyhawks at noon. Stonehill hosts East Stroudsburg University on Sunday, September 5, at 11 a.m., before Bloomsburg faces Franklin Pierce University at 1:30 p.m. The Skyhawks open defense of their NE-10 regular season title on Saturday, October 2, at Saint Michael's College at 11 a.m.