August 25, 2016

Husson Selected 2016 NAC East Field Hockey Preseason Favorite

Husson University has been selected to repeat as the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Field Hockey Champion after being voted No. 1 in the 2016 NAC East Division preseason poll. The Eagles were voted to repeat as champions after receiving a total of 34 points, including four of the six first place votes.

The University of Maine at Farmington earned second with 32 points after garnering the remaining two first place votes. Thomas College took third with 24 points, while Colby-Sawyer College (16 points), Castleton University (12 points), and New England College (8 points) claimed fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head field hockey coaches.

The top two teams in the 2016 preseason poll competed for the NAC Championship title last season, as Husson came away with a 2-0 victory over UMaine-Farmington. After claiming their fifth conference title, the Eagles went on to compete in the NCAA Tournament. In the first round of the national tournament, Husson was handed a tough 1-0 defeat by Keene State.

 

2016 NAC East Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll

  Team Points (First Place Votes)
1. Husson 34 (4)
2. UMaine-Farmington 32 (2)
3. Thomas 24
4. Colby-Sawyer 16
5. Castleton 12
6. New England College          8

 

All six NAC field hockey teams will kick off their quest for the 2016 conference title next week. The top four teams in the 2016 regular-season conference standings will qualify for the East Division Tournament, which gets underway Wednesday, October 26, with semifinal action. The two semifinal victors will battle for the NAC East Championship title on Saturday, October 29. The Crossover Championship against the NAC West Champion** is scheduled for Saturday, November 5, at Castleton.

Click HERE to view the 2016 NAC East Field Hockey composite schedule.
Click HERE to view the 2016 NAC East Field Hockey conference only schedule. 

 

2016 NAC East Field Hockey Previews

For more information on each team, click the school name to be directed to the field hockey section of each school's website.

 

1. Husson (8-10, 4-1 NAC) will be led by third-year head coach Madeline Hoeppner. The 2016 Eagles will feature a talented squad that will strive for a return trip to the championship game looking to capture their sixth NAC Championship in the last seven years. The Eagles will see four of their top five scorers return from last season's championship team, including juniors Taylor Shaw (Plymouth, Maine; pictured right), Lauren Russell (Saco, Maine), and 2015 NAC Tournament MVP Mikayla Toth (Skowhegan, Maine) along with senior Libby Kain (Dexter, Maine). Shaw led Husson in goals and points, while Toth led the team in assists last season. Expectations run high once again as the Eagles embark on their 20th season. 



2. UMaine-Farmington (10-5, 4-1 NAC)
is looking to not only reach the NAC Championship game for the third-straight season, but to take home the crown this year after suffering two heart-breaking defeats by Husson. Veteran head coach Cyndi Pratt enters her 13th season at the helm of the Beavers and will rely on a solid group of returning players, including reigning NAC Defensive Player of the Year Patty Smith (Gorham, Maine; pictured right). UMF returns numerous top-goal scorers from last year's squad, including juniors Emmah Spahr (Winthrop, Maine), Lee-Anne Greenleaf (Gardiner, Maine), Sarita Crandall (Farmington, Maine), and Carly Raymond (Topsham, Maine). The Beavers have a very competitive non-conference schedule with games against Bowdoin (2015 NCAA Division III Runner-Up), St. Joseph's (Me.), and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. UMaine-Farmington opens the season at Framingham State on September 3 to begin a three-game road trip. 


 

3. Thomas (8-9, 4-1 NAC) is looking to make a return trip to the NAC tournament after the Terriers placed third after a three-way tie for first place during the 2015 regular season. With only six returning starters, veteran head coach Andrea Thebarge has high expectations from her first-year players. Key returners include senior goalkeeper Abbie Charrier (Waldo, Maine), junior forward Abby Dunn (Gardiner, Maine; pictured right), sophomore midfielder Katie Taylor (Lebanon, Maine) and junior back Caitlyn Poulin (Knox, Maine). Top new additions include Kianna Pushard (Manchester, Maine), Kelci Faulkingham (Belfast, Maine) and Miranda Gagne (Winslow, Maine).

 

4. Colby-Sawyer (8-9, 2-3 NAC) will look to repeat the success of the 2015 season. The team increased its win total for a fourth-straight season and made the NAC tournament for the first time. Although sixth-year head coach Emily Rinde-Thorsen lost seven players to graduation, the team returns the NAC Rookie of the Year in Jordan Teixeira (Exter, N.H.; pictured right). Teixeira led the Chargers with a single-season program record of 22 points on eight goals and six assists. The team also brings back its third and fourth leading scorers in sophomore Sierra Schuster (Hopkinton, N.H.) and junior Paige Viens (Middlebury, Vt.)

 


 

5. Castleton (4-12, 1-4 NAC) looks to get back to the top of the NAC standings in 2016 after missing the tournament for the first time since 2005. Jessica Kischko returns for her third season at the helm of the Spartans squad and will see top goalkeeper Meeghan Doris (New Milford, Conn.) return to the cage, while Sarah Wells (Bellows Falls, Vt.; pictured right) returns to the attack for her sophomore season after tying for the NAC lead in points with 22. Alongside Wells is Haley Spittle (Duxbury, Vt.), a senior who finished just two points from the top of the conference leaderboard a season ago. The Spartans feature 11 first-year players in 2016, while returning 13 players from 2015. 

 


 

6. New England College (2-17, 0-5 NAC) is looking to build off of its record from a season ago. Second-year head coach Kristen Gillis will look to a talented incoming class that will increase the overall skill level and add depth to the squad. The Pilgrims' top returners include sophomore goalkeeper Michaela Clark (Dorchester, Mass.; pictured right) who started 18 games in net as a first-year last season. NEC also returns sophomore Taylor Daileanes (Londonderry, N.H.) who finished last season as the leading first-year scorer and senior Taylor Huyck (Amherst, N.H.) at the midfield position.


**Beginning with the 2016 season, the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) has partnered with the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) in the sport of field hockey. Three NEAC full members, Keuka College, Wells College and Wilson College, will compete as associate members of the NAC. Members from each conference will be divided into an East (NAC) and West (NEAC) Division, with each division holding a championship and the two divisional champions then facing off to determine the conference champion. The conference crossover winner will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships. For the full NAC Field Hockey Expansion release, please click HERE.