Field Hockey To Open Season Against Holy Cross On Friday, Aug. 26 At 12 PM

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Friday, August 26, 2011 - 12 p.m.
Quinnipiac University vs. College of the Holy Cross

Saturday, August 27, 2011 – 3:30 p.m.
Quinnipiac University vs. Lehigh University
Quinnipiac Field Hockey Turf Complex – Hamden, Conn.

Season Opener
The Quinnipiac field hockey team opens the 2011 season when it hosts Holy Cross at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey Turf Complex on Friday, Aug. 26 at 12 p.m. The Bobcats will also host Lehigh on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 3:30 p.m. in a game that was previously scheduled to be played on Sunday, Aug. 28 but was re-scheduled due to the threat of inclement weather.

Live stats and live audio will be available for both games and can be accessed by visiting the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, Audio will be provided by the Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network, a student-run organization that will broadcast all home games for the Bobcats this year.

NEC Preseason Poll
The Quinnipiac University field hockey team was tabbed to finish third in the 2011 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, as announced by the league office today. The Bobcats garnered two first-place votes after a 2010 campaign that saw the squad post eight wins, including a 4-3 mark in NEC play and a trip to the conference tournament for the third straight season.

NEC 2011 Preseason Coaches Poll (First-Place Votes)

1. Rider (4)
2. Monmouth (2)
3. Quinnipiac (2)
4. Bryant
5. Saint Francis (Pa.)
6. Sacred Heart
7. Robert Morris
8. Siena

All-NEC stand-outs Megan McCreedy, Kim Cunniff as well as Ashley Gradwell will serve as the team's captains for this season.

Captain Comeback
Megan McCreedy will look to bounce back after an injury sidelined the two-time all-NEC pick in 2010. McCreedy earned her second all-conference honor in 2010. As a freshman in 2007, the White River, South Africa native was named to the All-NEC Second Team after totaling three goals and one assist during her first year with the Bobcats. In 2008, the sophomore midfielder had one goal and a team-high five assists. In 2009, McCreedy once again led the team in assists, passing out seven helpers while starting in all 17 regular-season games.

Cunning Cunniff
Kimberly Cunniff was honored for the first time last season by the NEC with a First Team selection after being named NEC Player of the Week on Sept. 27 and Oct. 4, as she was one of two players in the Northeast Conference to earn the weekly honor twice. The native of Walpole, Mass. tied for the team lead with seven goals, while adding three assists, for a career-best 17 points. Known for her hard drives, Cunniff was one of two players, along with Kristen Engelke, in the Bobcats' line-up to score in three straight games. She was also one of two Quinnipiac players, along with Kaitlyn Notarianni, to post two multiple-goal games this season while also adding three game-winning goals.

Gradwell Makes The Grade
Ashley Gradwell stepped-up into a leadership role out of the backfield for the Bobcats as a junior and will look to expand on that role in her final season at QU.

Kaitlyn Notarianni emerged as one of the top forwards in the NEC with career-and team-highs in goals (7), assists (3) and points (17). Notarianni was ninth in the NEC in points and points per game (1.00). She opened the season with her first career hat trick in the Bobcats' 4-1 win against Lehigh, earning NEC Player of the Week honors. Included in the three-goal performance were the two fastest goals scored in Quinnipiac history when she converted on back-to-back shots within 24 seconds. It was also the first hat trick by a Quinnipiac player since 2006, earning her Quinnipiac Athlete of the Month honors for August. Notarriani also scored against Northeastern and Robert Morris, before a two-goal performance in a 5-1 win against Siena to clinch the final spot in the NEC Tournament.

Lauren Zimniski (Dallas, Pa.) served as the inserter on the Bobcats' penalty corner unit, setting up four of Quinnipiac's five goals to come out of special teams. Zimniski was second on the team to assist leader Tina Watkins, with four assists, which were also a career high.

The 2011 Schedule
Quinnipiac opens the 2011 season on the road on August 23 when they head down I-95 to Fairfield for a non-conference tilt at 2 p.m. The Bobcats then host Holy Cross on Friday, Aug. 26 at 12 p.m. and Lehigh on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. Quinnipiac will then travel for three of its first four games of September, playing at Boston College on Sept. 2, Colgate on Sept. 9 and Penn State on Sept. 11. They will also host Yale on Sept. 4. September will also feature home tilts against Harvard on Sept. 18, a road game at Columbia on Sept. 21 and a home game against Maine on Sept. 25.

After trips to Lafayette on Oct. 2 and Brown on Oct. 4, the Bobcats host Robert Morris Oct. 7 for its first Northeast Conference game of the year. They will also host Saint Francis (Pa.) on Oct. 9 before three-straight road games at Monmouth (Oct.14), Rider (Oct. 16) and Siena (Oct. 21). The Bobcats' final two regular-season games will played at home on Oct. 23 against Bryant and Oct. 28 against Sacred Heart.

Double Digit Scorers
Last season, Quinnipiac was one of three teams – along with Rider and Monmouth – to carry four players with double-digit points. Cunniff (7g, 3a, 17 pts.), Notarianni (7g, 3a, 17 pts.), Kristen Engelke (5g, 4a, 14 pts.) and Tina Watkins (2g, 8a, 12 pts.) accomplished the feat.