SOMERSET, N.J. – The Quinnipiac University field hockey team was picked to finish fourth in the 2012 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, while also receiving one first place vote. Quinnipiac qualified for the NEC Tournament for the fourth straight season in 2012 after posting an 11-8 overall record including a 5-2 mark in conference play.
2012 NEC Tournament runner-up Monmouth was tabbed as the favorite by the league's coaches, garnering four first-place votes. Reigning champion Rider was second with three first-place votes followed by Saint Francis (Pa.). The Bobcats slotted into the fourth spot followed by Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Bryant and Siena to round-out the field.
"We return a young squad after the graduation of five starters from last year's talented team but after this past spring we are only young and not inexperienced," head coach Becca Main said. "We will rely on fifth year seniors midfielder Lauren Zimniski and goalkeeper Nicole Lewis to guide us on the field and also lead us off the field. Our incoming freshman class is extremely talented with seven players and it is likely many of them will see playing time and starting opportunities."
Nicole Lewis (East Amherst, N.Y.), Laura Zimniski (Dallas, Pa.) and Jennalise Taylor (Yardley, Pa.) will serve as tri-captains for the 2012 Bobcats. Lewis returns for her fifth year and her second as the Bobcats' starting goalie. Last season, Lewis posted an 11-8 record with a 2.57 goals-against average and a .776 save percentage. Lewis' 11 wins were the second most in program history while she also posted an impressive 8-1 mark at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey Turf Complex.
Zimniski was an All-Northeast Conference pick in 2010 and has solidified herself as one of the top defensive midfielders in the NEC. Christa Romano (Madison, N.J.) and Cate Colucci (Gloucester, R.I.) add depth to the Bobcats midfield. Romano showed great promise in her first year and had an outstanding spring season.
Taylor has been a shut-down defender in each of her two seasons at Quinnipiac and will be looked at to anchor the Bobcats' defensive corps. Amanda Danziger (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Cate Colucci (Gloucester, R.I.) will also be looked on to contribute in the Bobcats midfield.
"We saw the emergence of senior Cate Colucci and junior Amanda Danziger in the backfield during the spring," Main said. "They have given us confidence on the defensive side of the ball while defensive mainstay Jennalise Taylor recovered from an injury."
Returning leading scorer Jess Rusin (Garwood, N.J.) became one of 12 players in Quinnipiac's history to reach double-digits in the goals scored column with 10 markers in her second season in Mt. Carmel. Rusin also had two assists for 22 points. Danielle Allen (Pompton Lakes, N.J.) will look to build off an outstanding freshman season in which she was a two-time Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week after totaling eight goals and four assists for 20 points. Kristen Engelke (Medford, N.J.) missed all of last season to injury. The coaching staff is hopeful she will return to her 2010 form when she totaled five goals and four assists for 14 points.
The Bobcats will travel to Storrs, Conn. to take on Connecticut on Thursday, Aug. 16 in an exhibition game slated for 12 p.m. Following a second exhibition at Providence on Sunday, Aug. 19, the Bobcats open the 2012 regular season on Friday, Aug. 24 at Holy Cross at 11 a.m. Quinnipiac will host Towson for its home opener on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 12 p.m. at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey Turf Complex in Hamden, Conn.
Contact: Ken Sweeten (firstname.lastname@example.org)