Women's Lacrosse Picked To Repeat As NEC Champions In Preseason Coaches' Poll

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HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac women’s lacrosse team has been selected to repeat as Northeast Conference Champions for the upcoming 2012 season, as announced by the League on Wednesday, Feb. 8. The Bobcats received six first-place votes, while Mount St. Mary’s (two votes), Monmouth (one vote) and Sacred Heart (one vote) garnered the remaining first-place votes.

“It is always flattering to get a vote of confidence from your peers,” said head coach Danie Caro. “My players know the expectations we have for them, and they are fully committed to exceeding our team goals, which always include competing for the NEC Championship.”

Picked second in the poll is Robert Morris, which received no first-place votes, followed by Mount St. Mary’s, Monmouth and Sacred Heart. Bryant holds the sixth spot in the poll, while Central Connecticut, Saint Francis, Wagner and LIU Brooklyn round out the bottom four teams in the conference.

2012 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll

1. Quinnipiac (6)
2. Robert Morris
3. Mount St. Mary’s (2)
4. Monmouth (1)
5. Sacred Heart (1)
6. Bryant
7. Central Connecticut State
8. Saint Francis (PA)
9. Wagner
10. LIU Brooklyn

The Bobcats return a great deal of firepower from last season, including reigning NEC Player of the Year Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.), who led the conference in 2011 with 53 goals (also a Bobcats program-record) and 63 points. Caroleo assumes the role as co-captain this year with fellow senior, midfielder Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.), who finished the season first on the team in draw controls (47), second in caused turnovers (22) and goals (38), and third on the squad in total points (53). Gibney’s 38 in-conference goals ranked tied for fourth-best in the NEC, while her 12 point output in the NEC Tournament (eight goals, four assists) earned her MVP honors for the weekend.

The conference’s top feeder, junior Sarah Allen (Glastonbury, Conn.), looks to continue her dramatic development as an assist machine, as she dished out a league-high 34 helpers in 2011. Junior Chelsea Guerrera (Wantagh, N.Y.) aims to step into a prominent midfield role for the Bobcats, returning with the team’s third highest 2011 ground ball (28) and fourth highest draw control (25) totals.

Anchoring Quinnipiac’s defensive unit is senior Kim Davis (Darien, Conn.), who led the team with 40 ground balls and was tied for fourth with 18 caused turnovers a season ago. Quinnipiac’s last line of defense rests in the hands of senior goalie Noelle Martello (Westbury, N.Y.) whose 7.83 goals against average and .561 save percentage ranked first in NEC action, while her .510 overall save percentage ranked second-best among all NCAA Division I goalkeepers. As a team, Quinnipiac’s defense led the NEC with an 8.23 goals against average and a .540 save percentage.

“There is a lot of pressure on a team when you are picked to finish first, but I think we are prepared to handle it,” said Caro. “We have a great group of veteran players that we count on to provide direction and leadership, and I have every confidence that they will make sure we all remember that pre-season accolades don’t mean much if you don’t take care of business on the field.”

The Bobcats open its 2012 season schedule when they travel to face Connecticut on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. Quinnipiac then heads out west to face St. Mary’s (Calif.) in Denver, Co. on Monday, March 12 at 4 p.m. (MST) before playing Denver on Thursday, March 15 at 2 p.m. (MST). Quinnipiac then faces Brown on Sunday, March 18 at 1 p.m., before hosting its first game of the season on Wednesday, March 21 at 2 p.m. against Vermont.

Quinnipiac travels to face Wagner on Friday, March 23 at 3 p.m., followed by a contest at LIU Brooklyn on Sunday, March 25 at 5 p.m. Quinnipiac hosts Mount St. Mary’s on Friday, March 30 at 3 p.m. before hosting Monmouth the following Sunday, Apr. 1 at 12 p.m.

Quinnipiac heads out on the road for a three-game stretch against Saint Francis (Thursday, Apr. 5 at 3 p.m.), Robert Morris (Saturday, Apr. 7 at 11 a.m.) and Sacred Heart (Friday, Apr. 13 at 4 p.m.).

The Bobcats finish the regular season with three-straight home contests against Fairfield on Sunday, Apr. 15 at 12 p.m., Central Connecticut on Friday, Apr. 20 at 4 p.m. and Bryant on Sunday, Apr. 22 at 12 p.m.

For more information about the women’s lacrosse team, please visit the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.

Contact: Ross Bennett; rsbennett@quinnipiac.edu