August 28, 2017

Husson Tabbed 2017 NAC East Field Hockey Preseason Favorite

Husson University has been selected as the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) East Division Field Hockey favorite in the coaches preseason poll. The Eagles were voted No. 1 after receiving a total of 33 points, including three of the six first place votes.

The University of Maine at Farmington, the defending champions, earned second with 30 points after garnering the remaining three first place votes. Thomas College took third with 21 points, while Castleton University and Colby-Sawyer College tied for fourth with 17 points apiece and New England College claimed sixth with eight points, respectively.

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


2017 NAC East Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll

  Team Points (First Place Votes)
1. Husson 33 (3)
2. UMaine-Farmington 30 (3)
3. Thomas 21
T4. Castleton 17
T4. Colby-Sawyer 17
6. New England College          8


The top two teams in the 2017 preseason poll competed for the NAC East Championship Title last season, as the Beavers scored with just 10:45 remaining in double overtime to earn a 1-0 victory over the Eagles. After claiming the divisional title, UMF clinched a berth into the 2016 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship with a 3-2 win over Wells College.

In the first round of the national tournament, UMaine-Farmington was handed a tough 5-0 defeat by No. 19 University of New England.

All six NAC field hockey teams will kick off their quest for the 2017 conference title this weekend. The top four teams in the 2017 regular-season conference standings will qualify for the East Division Tournament, which gets underway Wednesday, October 25, with semifinal action. The two semifinal victors will battle for the NAC East Championship title on Saturday, October 28. The Crossover Championship against the NAC West Champion** is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, November 4, at SUNY Morrisville.

Click HERE to view the 2017 NAC East Field Hockey composite schedule.


2017 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 (8-7, 4-1 NAC East)
 will be led by first-year head coach and two-time All-American Sabrina Smith. The 2017 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 eight years. The Eagles will see three of their top five scorers return from last season's championship team, including seniors Taylor Shaw (Plymouth, Maine), Lauren Russell (Saco, Maine; pictured right) and Mikayla Toth (Skowhegan, Maine). Toth, the team's leader in assists last season, and Russell were both honored as All-Conference performers, while Russell led Husson in goals and points. Expectations run high once again as the Eagles embark on their 21st season and open at Wellesley on Saturday, September 2. 



2. UMaine-Farmington (13-5, 4-1 NAC East)
will be led by Cyndi Pratt who enters her 14th season at the helm. The Beavers will see Emmah Spahr (Winthrop, Maine; pictured right), the 2016 NAC Player of the Year, return after leading the conference in goals scored, while Carly Raymond (Topsham, Maine), the second leading scorer, will be back as an offensive force as well. UMF will also see LeeAnne-Greenleaf (Gardiner, Maine), a first team all-conference selection, back, while Sarita Crandall (Farmington, Maine) will anchor the midfield key on offensive and defensive corners. The Beavers will look to make a return trip to the NAC Tournament to defend their 2016 title. The team opens with SUNY Cortland (at Smith College) on Saturday, September 2. 



3. Thomas (4-12, 2-3 NAC East) will look to reach the NAC tournament for a 14th-straight season under the helm of ten-year veteran head coach Andrea Thebarge. Thebarge has high expectations as she returns 12 players along with a talented incoming class. The Terriers return junior midfielder Katie Taylor (Lebanon, Maine; pictured right) who was named to the All-NAC and All-Tournament Team last season. The team also returns senior back Caitlyn Poulin (Knox, Maine), junior midfielder Tiffany Weeks (Kennebunk, Maine) and senior forward Abigail Dunn (Gardiner, Maine). Top new additions include goaltenders Leah Kruse (Norridgewock, Maine) and MacKenzie Oberholzer (Greencastle, Pa.) along with defender Sidney Hurst (Saco, Maine) and midfielder Allie Gregoire (Kennebunk, Maine). Thomas will open the season on Friday, September 1, as the Terriers host the University of Southern Maine at 4:00 p.m. 



T4. Castleton (6-12, 2-3 NAC East), led by fourth-year head coach Jessica Kischko, returns Emily Lowell (Brandon, Vt.) as its leading scorer from a season ago. After finishing fourth in the NAC East last year, the Spartans welcome the return of co-captains and veteran players Rachel Holland (Bennington, Vt.; pictured right) and Sarah Wells (Bellow Falls, Vt.; pictured right). Castleton also brings in a strong recruiting class, which consists of six freshmen led by Casey Traill (South Shields, England). The Spartans will look to build on their continuously improved record over the past couple of seasons and open the 2017 campaign at Union College (N.Y.) on September 1. 


T4. Colby-Sawyer (11-6, 3-2 NAC East)
 will look to make a third-straight appearance in the conference semifinals this season. Seventh-year head coach Emily Rinde-Thorsen lost just two players to graduation from last year's squad that set a program record for wins with 11. Colby-Sawyer returns its top four leading scorers, including last year's NAC Rookie of the Year Alie Jones (Cape Neddick, Maine; pictured right). The defense also brings back senior Jesse Murch (Poland, Maine) who was named All-Conference last season. The Chargers will open the 2017 campaign with three-straight home games beginning on September 1 against Keene State. 

6. New England College (4-13, 0-5 NAC East)
 will look to improve upon last year's record, as the Pilgrims have their sights set on picking up some NAC victories under first-year head coach Carly Sweeney. Sweeney comes to NEC from Frostburg State in Maryland, where she was head coach for six seasons. NEC returns a strong five-player core, including senior goaltender Michaela Clark (Dorchester, Mass.; pictured right). Clark started in 16 games last season and held a 2.65 goals-against average with a .808 save percentage. Offensively, junior Taylor Daileanes (Londonderry, N.H.) returns after scoring six goals with two assists as a sophomore. Seniors Abigail Arsenault (Pine Plains, N.Y.) and Kayla Donahue (Natick, Mass.) also return to the Pilgrims offense, while senior Anya Owens (Stoddard, N.H.) will lead the team's defense. NEC opens up with Bay Path at home on September 1 and will travel to New Jersey for games against Ramapo and Bryn Mawr in the second weekend of the season. 

**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. In 2017, four NEAC full members, Bryn Athyn College, 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.