FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - Salisbury was selected the unanimous favorite in the 2019 Capital Athletic Conference Field Hockey Preseason Poll. The Sea Gulls garnered all five first-place votes and 25 points to land atop the poll in a vote among the conference head coaches.
Christopher Newport finished second in the poll with 20 points and one first-place vote, with York in third place with 17 points, while Mary Washington collected 14 points. St. Mary's (9 points) and Southern Virginia (5 points) rounded out the voting as the Knights begin their inaugural field hockey season.
Salisbury defeated CNU 3-1 in last year's title match, with the Sea Gulls advancing to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
All six CAC squads will advance to the conference playoffs for the second straight year, with the championship game set for Saturday, Nov. 9. The 2018 campaign begins on Friday, Aug. 30, with CAC play set to begin on Oct. 11.
2019 CAC Field Hockey Preseason Poll
Points (First-Place Votes)
|2.||Christopher Newport||20 (1)|
Below is a brief preview of each team heading into the 2019 season:
Coming off their 21st CAC Championship and their 25th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2018, SALISBURY returns seven of their eight All-CAC honorees from a season ago including CAC Player of the Year and first-team All-American senior defender Jillian Hughes and CAC Rookie of the Year midfielder/defender Tara Flavin. Hughes and fellow seniors Tara Daddio and Arielle Johnston all brought home All-Region honors in 2018.
The CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT field hockey team returns eight starters and 18 total players from last year's squad, which finished the 2018 campaign ranked 16th in the final NFHCA National Coaches Poll. Head coach Carrie Moura's crew includes reigning second-team All-American Courtney Fiest as well as All-Region performers Rachel Cooke and Olivia Davis. Coming off of a 13-6 season, the Captains face a 2019 schedule that includes seven opponents which competed in last year's NCAA Tournament and five teams that finished 2018 ranked in the top-10 nationally.
YORK enters the season with a small but determined squad led by All-CAC performers Dana Meehling and Julea Truskey. Meehling was an All-Region performer for the Green and White as a sophomore. Meehling totaled 23 points on nine goals and five assists while she also had two game-winning goals. Truskey started all 18 games in the defensive third as she finished with five defensive saves, three goals and six assists for 12 points. Truskey triggered 144 of 159 penalty corners. Senior captain Meghan Heary along with fellow seniors Amanda Boclair and Sam Keating are joined by sophomores Peyton Martino and Sam Collis as other key returners for the Green and White.
MARY WASHINGTON will look to improve upon their 11-6 record last season. Head coach Jamie Tierney-Harris begins her second season with the Eagles and welcomes back six starters. Heading the offense will be first team All-CAC standout, Lauren Hopkins, who scored 14 goals this past year. Juniors Izzy Scholz and Bella Urcia will provide support on the offensive end. Second team All-CAC selection, Lexie Dixson, will be relied upon for leadership within the midfield. Sophomore Sydney Keating will look to play a big role this season.
ST. MARY'S heads into their 2019 campaign looking to build off of their 7-9 overall record and 1-4 CAC mark from last season. The Seahawks, led by fourth year head coach Jessica Lanham, return 17 student-athletes from last season, which includes six starters from the 2018 campaign. In addition, the Seahawks added eight newcomers. Highlighting the Seahawk returners are 2018 All-CAC Second Team selections Meghan Ronan and Gabrielle Corder. Ronan helped St. Mary's to a CAC third-best 1.76 team goals against average and two shutouts. The junior defender also contributed offensively with a goal and two assists for four points. Corder, a rising sophomore, led the Seahawks last season with 11 points, four goals, and a team-best three assists.
SOUTHERN VIRGINIA enters their inaugural season in CAC play. Southern Virginia is led by Head Coach Camille Lamb who enters her second season at the helm. The Knights look to produce results in their first season as they will face a tough schedule.