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HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team was selected to finish second in the 2013 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, announced on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 by the league office. Quinnipiac is coming off yet another impressive season in 2012, where the Bobcats earned a share of the regular season title with a 7-2 record in Northeast Conference play.
"It's always exciting when the coaches poll comes out because it means lacrosse season is about to start," said head coach Danie Caro. "I am not surprised by our ranking at all. We lost four starters from last year's team, which under-achieved, so the 2013 squad really has something to prove. I think this group of student-athletes is committed to letting their play on the field speak for itself. We've been working really hard, and I have no doubt we will be ready to compete for an NEC Championship this spring."
Monmouth University, last year's NEC representative in the NCAA Tournament, was tabbed No. 1 in the census as the Hawks claimed eight first place votes from coaches around the league. Quinnipiac received the remaining two first place votes and finished second, while Mount St. Mary's, Central Connecticut and Robert Morris rounded out the top five. In the bottom half, Sacred Heart held the sixth spot and was followed by Bryant, Wagner, Saint Francis University and LIU Brooklyn.
2013 Northeast Conference Women's Lacrosse Poll
1) Monmouth (8)
2) Quinnipiac (2)
3) Mount St. Mary's
4) Central Connecticut
5) Robert Morris
6) Sacred Heart
9) Saint Francis
10) LIU Brooklyn
Quinnipiac, the Northeast Conference's top-ranked offense in 2012, will look for similar success with a solid corps returning in 2013. The Bobcats welcome back four players who accounted for more than 60 percent of its points from a year ago – a team that led the conference in points per game (18.12). Quinnipiac also led the league in assists (7.25) and finished second in goals per game (10.88).
"We are very fortunate to have such an experienced group returning on offense this season," said Caro. "Not only are those four players (Sarah Allen, Kiera Ochwat, Lianne Toomey, and Michaela Tinsley (Shrewsbury, Mass.)) all very solid players, they work really well together and their style of play is very complementary. We've added some new looks to how we play this year, so it will be really fun to see how we look when we open up later this month."
First-team All-NEC selection Sarah Allen (Glastonbury, Conn.) leads the way after completing one of the most impressive campaigns in Bobcats history last year. Allen was recognized as the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Statistical Champion in two categories; assists and assists per game. Allen posted 64 assists in 2012, improving her career total to 110 and remains just one shy of QU's All-Time Leader Katie Latonick (2010). Allen's accomplishments went one step further on the national stage, as the attacker broke the previous NCAA Division I single-season assist per game record of 4.17, finishing the year with 4.27 assists per game. She added four goals and finished with 68 points on the season.
Joining Allen up front again in 2013 is sophomore (Farmingdale, N.Y.) Kyra Ochwat (Farmingdale, N.Y.), who is coming off a stellar rookie campaign. Ochwat became just the third Quinnipiac player to win NEC Rookie of the Year since the 2000 campaign when the award first existed. Ochwat had a fantastic rookie season for Quinnipiac, ranking second overall on the team in goals (32) and fourth on the team in points (39). She was just three goals away from tying the all-time rookie record for single-season goals of 34, set by Marta Waldron in 1999. Senior Lianne Toomey (Hicksville, N.Y.) returns for her final season in Bobcat uniform as the teams second leading returning point scorer. The Hicksville native was also ranked third on the team in draw controls her junior campaign.
On the other side of the turf, Quinnipiac will turn to its upperclassmen, senior Chelsea Guerrera (Wantagh, N.Y.) a four- year starter for the Bobcats and a 2010 NEC Rookie team member. Guerrera has been one of Quinnipiac's most consistant players and was second on the team in 2012 for ground balls and caused turnovers and fourth in draw controls. Seniors Kiera Carey (Long Beach, N.Y.) and Emily Samuelman (North Andover, Mass.). Carey and Samuelman each started in all 16 games for a defense that finished atop the conference in caused turnovers per game. Carey caused 14 turnovers and picked up 10 ground balls, while Samuelman caused 16 turnovers and collected 12 ground balls.
Between the pipes, Quinnipiac returns one of its two goalies from last year's squad. Sophomore Samantha Tilts (Port Washington, N.Y.) appeared in 14 games, which included nine starts. Quinnipiac's defense last year was the top rated in the NEC - Tilts and Noelle Martello '12 combined to hold Quinnipiac's opponents to a .789 GAA in conference games, to make the Bobcats have the top save percentage (.536) in the conference.
Competition opens on Wednesday, February 27 with a home match against Yale. The game is set for 3 p.m. at the QU Lacrosse Turf on Mount Carmel Campus.
Quinnipiac fans should refer to the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com, for any schedule changes as well as the latest news, scores and highlights. The 2013 Quinnipiac Women's Lacrosse Schedule is also available for download at www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com for all mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as all desktop computers.