HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University field hockey team was chosen to finish first in the 2014 MAAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, as voted on by the league's six head coaches. The 2013 MAAC Champions return 11 letterwinners, including three All-MAAC Preseason selections in seniors Danielle Allan (Riverdale, N.Y.), Megan Conaboy (Clarks Summit, Pa.) and Megan Osanitsch (Harwinton, Conn.), from a team that is fresh off their first conference title since the 2003 season.
A year after winning the inaugural MAAC Championship with a 1-0 victory over Robert Morris in the title game, Quinnipiac earned 32 points with three first place votes in the poll. The Bobcats edged Monmouth University, which earned 28 points and two first place votes to take second place. Just five points separates the top three teams as Rider sits a close third with 27 points, securing one first place vote. Rounding out the remainder of the poll is Bryant (19), Sacred Heart (11) and Siena (9).
|Preseason Coaches' Poll|
Quinnipiac, Rider and Bryant each tied for the most All-MAAC Preseason selections with three, while Monmouth's Trish O'Dwyer was chosen as the 2014 MAAC Field Hockey Preseason Player of the Year.
The Bobcats finished the 2013 campaign with a 14-7 overall record and 5-1 mark in MAAC play, splitting the co-regular season championship with Rider in the league's inaugural season. Head coach Becca Main, now entering her 20th season manning the helm at Quinnipiac, will lead the 2014 Bobcats who're coming off their best single-season record (14-7) in program history. The Bobcats return 11 players from the 2013 squad including All-MAAC selections in Allan and Conaboy.
|Preseason All-MAAC Team|
|Carlotta Clotet Alsina||Midfield||Rider|
|Liz Bergman||Midfield||Sacred Heart|
|Preseason Player of the Year|
Quinnipiac benefitted greatly from one of the league's stingiest defenses in 2013 and the Bobcats will welcome back their senior goalkeeper and reigning MAAC Co-Goalkeeper of the Year in Conaboy. The three-time MAAC Defensive Player of the Week posted one of the best seasons for a Quinnipiac goalkeeper in program history with a 14-7 record, 1.89 GAA, .740 save percentage, seven shutouts and 114 saves in helping the Bobcats secure the 2013 MAAC Championship. Playing every minute of every game in the 2013 season, Conaboy dominated the MAAC competition with a 7-1 record, 0.62 GAA, .871 save percentage and five shutouts in eight games against intra-conference opponents. Her single-season win total (14) is a new program record at Quinnipiac while her seven shutouts ranked second on the all-time list.
Returning to the defensive core with Conaboy is fellow co-captain and All-MAAC Preseason selection in senior defender Osantisch. The Bobcats will rely heavily on the leadership and consistency of Osantisch who played in and started all 21 games last season. In her junior year, Osantisch tallied career highs across the board in goals (three), assists (two), points (eight), shots (nine), shots-on-goal (nine), game-winning goals (two) and defensive saves (one). Fellow returners along the back line with Osantisch include junior Haley Swartz (Downingtown, Pa.) and sophomore Lily Shemo (Luzerne, Pa.) while freshmen Gemma Cirera Gutierrez (Terrassa, Barcelona), Rachel Hamm (Collegeville, Pa.), Kiera Godusky (Allentown, Pa.) and Payton Mickey (Lake Forest, Ill.) all look to make an immediate impact on a defensive unit that finished second in the MAAC in shutouts a year ago.
Offensively, the Bobcats are coming off a banner year in which Quinnipiac led the MAAC in goals scored (57), goals scored per game (2.71), assists (53), assists per game (2.52) and scoring average (2.71). Coach Main will need a talented group of returners mixed in with some skilled newcomers to replace the nine seniors, five of which were named All-Conference, who contributed a combined 41 goals, 37 assists and 119 points.
Headlining the group of forwards is Allan, a senior co-captain, All-MAAC Preseason selection and reigning All-MAAC Second Teamer. A two-time All-Conference pick, Allan is the Bobcats' leading returning scorer with 23 points (nine goals, five assists) in the 2013 season. Her 23-point season ranked 9th on the all-time list at Quinnipiac while she enters her senior season ranked in the Top 10 all-time list in career goals (21), assists (14) and points (56). Allan will look to team up with junior Savanna Reilly (Hamden, Conn.) who is coming off a five-point season (one goal, four assists), the third-highest returning scorer on the Bobcats from last season. A deep group of freshmen in Lauren Belskie (Hillsborough, N.J.), Felicia Costanzo (Lakeland, N.Y.) and Isamarie Ramos (Coopersburg, Pa.) will also join the fray up top in 2014.
Junior Meghan McCullough (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) and sophomore Lea Dietrichs (Lueneburg, Germany) will anchor the group of returning midfielders for the Bobcats. McCullough appeared in 18 games and posted three points (one goal, one assist) while Dietrichs finished her freshman year with three assists while seeing time in all 21 games. Mixed in with McCullough and Dietrichs includes sophomore Angie King (South Windsor, Conn.) and a pair of freshmen newcomers in Dayna Barlow (Port Elizabeth, South Africa) and Michelle Federico (Cheshire, Conn.).
Quinnipiac will open the 2014 season at home as the Bobcats play host to the first annual Longstreth/Bobcat Classic on Aug. 29-31. The QU Field Hockey Turf Complex on the Mount Carmel Campus will be the site of a three-game tournament played over three days that features Boston College and Lafayette. Quinnipiac opens play with a home meeting at 3:00 pm on Friday, Aug. 29 against Boston College followed by a 1:00 pm Sunday matchup versus Lafayette.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com