Senior All-American Emily Sideris looks to help lead the Skyhawks back to the NCAA Tournament again this fall. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)
Skyhawks picked third in NE-10 preseason coaches' poll, seventh in Penn Monto/NFHCA Division II poll
EASTON, Mass. (August 29, 2014) – The Stonehill College field hockey program has received high preseason rankings at both the Conference and national level with just one week before its season-opening match next Friday.
Stonehill has been picked third in the Northeast-10 Conference's preseason coaches' poll, collecting 104 points and one first place vote, while the Skyhawks are ranked seventh in the Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II preseason poll released this week. Defending NE-10 regular season and tournament champions LIU Post is the preseason favorite in the Conference with 117 points and eight first place votes to go with a preseason national ranking of No. 3. Merrimack College, who visits W.B. Mason Stadium to open the season next Friday, September 6, is picked second in the NE-10 with 106 points and three first place votes and is ranked No. 5 in the NFHCA national poll.
Adelphi University (87 points) and Bentley University (83 points), ranked tenth nationally by the NFHCA, round out the top five for the NE-10 preseason poll. Millersville (Pa.) University is ranked No. 1 in the NFHCA Division II national poll with eight first place votes, while Shippensburg (Pa.) University is ranked second (seven first place votes). West Chester (Pa.) University received the remaining two first place votes and is ranked fourth. Stonehill's second game of the season, on Sunday, September 7, will be against No. 8 East Stroudsburg (Pa.) University at W.B. Mason Stadium at 1 p.m.
Stonehill head coach Shelly Morris returns 16 letterwinners, including eight starters, from her 2013 squad which finished the season with an 18-4 record overall, including an 8-2 clip in the Northeast-10. The Skyhawks were ranked fifth in the final Penn Monto/NFHCA Division II poll and earned the fifth NCAA Tournament bid in program history after reaching the NE-10 Championship for a fifth time. Stonehill opened the season with a program-record 16-straight wins and fell just a win shy of the single-season record of 19 set in 2005.
Junior All-American Erika Kelly looks to build off her record-breaking 2013 campaign this fall. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)
Stonehill returns two All-Americans in senior Emily Sideris (Watertown, Massachusetts/Watertown) and junior Erika Kelly (Watertown, Massachusetts/Watertown) to headline Morris' returnees. Kelly, a unanimous first team All-Northeast-10 selection last fall, led Division II with a program and Northeast-10 record 38 goals to go with two assists for a program and NE-10 record matching 78 points in a breakout 2013 season. Her 1.81 goals per game is a new Division II record, while her 3.71 points per game also led the country and her point total shared the Division II lead. She finished just two goals shy of the NCAA Division II record of 40 by Jamie Vanartsdalen of Bloomsburg (Pa.) University in 2008.
Sideris, who also collected second team All-NE-10 honors, is a two-time All-American after totaling eight goals and four assists for 20 points last season, scoring two game winning goals, including one in overtime. Junior Lauren Giordano (Watertown, Massachusetts/Watertown), an NE-10 All-Rookie Team honoree in 2013, returns after posting ten goals and three assists for 23 points, while senior Elizabeth Genovese (Street, Maryland/North Harford) is back in goal after starting all 22 games a year ago and posting a 1.80 goals against average and .732 save percentage with 113 saves.
Stonehill opens its 2014 season next Friday, September 5, when it hosts 5th-ranked Merrimack College at W.B. Mason Stadium at 7 p.m., for a rematch of their NCAA Tournament clash last November in which the Warriors held off a second half Skyhawks rally for a 4-3 overtime triumph. The Skyhawks then host No. 8 East Stroudsburg on Sunday at 1 p.m., and then open their NE-10 slate by hosting first year program Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday, October 4, at noon.