HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University women's ice hockey team was selected to finish fourth in the 2010-11 ECAC Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Bobcats collected 79 points in the poll after posting a 19-10-8 overall record (11-4-7 ECAC Hockey) last season. Sophomore goaltender Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) was also honored with a Preseason All-League selection. After advancing to the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals and earning the program's first-ever postseason victory last year, the Bobcats have increased expectations under third-year Head Coach Rick Seeley.
Cornell, with 11 first-place votes, was the unanimous selection to repeat as ECAC Hockey champions, followed by Clarkson, which received the one remaining first-place vote. Harvard, Quinnipiac, St. Lawrence and Princeton rounded out the top six. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Dartmouth, Colgate, Yale, Brown and Union completed the poll.
While Quinnipiac experienced much success during the 2009-10 season, Seeley understands that continued work is needed to carry that success into this coming season.
"Last season the team really came together nicely and impressed our entire coaching staff," says Seeley. "While we are honored to have been selected fourth in the league, we know that nothing is guaranteed. Our squad will work hard to maintain its high level of play dating back to last season. I think the preseason poll is a little lofty for us, but we are up to the challenge."
Vigilanti, who earned 2009-10 ECAC Hockey goalie and Rookie of the Year honors, returns with the best goals-against average (1.24) and save percentage (.950) in both the league and country. She was a four-time ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Week and a three-time ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week.
Returning as the team leader in points with 17 (seven goals, 10 assists), junior Bethany Dymarczyk (Hamden, Conn.) looks to provide an offensive lift from the defense position during the 2010-11 season. Helping her up front will be junior Kate Wheeler (Oakville, Ontario) who tallied 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) and senior Kelley Davies (Chesapeake, Va.) who registered 11 points (five points, six assists).
Junior scoring defenders Regan Boulton (Brandon, Manitoba), who collected 10 points on the season with one goal and nine assists, and Jordan Elkins (Wasilla, Alaska), who tallied nine points with one goal and eight assists, remain the dominant forces in the back.
Seeley is also excited about bringing in 11 freshman skaters, hoping they are up to the challenge of filling key roles.
"There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of expectations coming from the freshman," says Seeley.Quinnipiac plays host to its first exhibition contest on Sept. 24 against Ontario Hockey Academy at the TD Bank Sports Center. The Bobcats then open the season when they travel to Dwyer Arena in Lewiston, N.Y. for a two-game set against Niagara on Oct. 1 and Oct. 2.