HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team was picked third in the 2010 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Bobcats received two first-place votes after earning a share of the regular season championship for the second straight year in 2009. Quinnipiac will return 18 members of last season's team that set new program record for wins (13) and winning percentage in a season (.813). Sacred Heart was picked first after winning its second straight NEC Championship.
"I'm very pleased that my fellow NEC coaches have recognized the potential the 2010 team has," said Head Coach Danie Caro. "But potential doesn't play the games, actual student-athletes do. We have some very good players and I'm looking forward to watching them grow into a team during the course of our pre-season practices. Once the end of April rolls around, we'll see how accurate the poll was."
Sacred Heart finished first in the poll with five first-place votes, while Monmouth was the only other team ahead of the Bobcats with three first-place nods. Following Quinnipiac was Robert Morris and 2009 NEC Semifinalist Mount St. Mary's in fourth and fifth places, respectively. Wagner, Long Island, Bryant, Central Connecticut and Saint Francis (Pa.) rounded out the poll in sixth through 10th place.
Returning from last season's NEC Tournament runners-up will be graduate student Katie Latonick (Severna Park, Md.). Latonick will serve as the captain of the Bobcats in 2010 after setting a program record last season with 44 assists. Those 44 assists were good for second in the NEC, while her 54 points were seventh. Her one goal and eight assists during the two-game postseason, including a conference record five against Mount St. Mary's in the semi finals, earned her a spot on the NEC All-Tournament Team. Her performance against Mount St. Mary's and Sacred Heart also set the record for assists in one postseason. The Bobcats' nine assists against the Mountaineers tied the NEC record for assists by a team in a single tournament game set by Monmouth in 1999.
Joining Latonick as members of the Bobcats in their final season with the team will be Lyndsey Banach (Syracuse, N.Y.), Kelly Bruneau (Cheshire, Conn.), Brittany Hauser (East Northport, N.Y.), Kaitlyn Vennard (Albany, N.Y.). Following last season, Banach was honored as one of two players from across the nation with the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association's Community Awareness Award for her involvement with events in and around the Hamden area.
Juniors Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.), Christine Sinnigen (Sudbury, Mass.) and Kaitlyn Kelly (North Massapequa, N.Y.) will also be returning to the Bobcats in 2010. Sinnigen was named the team's most improved player in 2009 after the second-year attacker finished the season with 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points, good for sixth on the team in scoring. She record a career-high four goals and six points at Saint Francis (Pa.) on April 9. She appeared in 10 more games and registered 26 more points as she had the biggest increase in production on the team from the 2008 to 2009. Matuszczak was honored as the recipient of the Becca M. Kohli Ultimate Bobcat Award as well as being named to the 2009 NEC All-Tournament. The award is given annually to the player who embodies the characteristics of the student-athlete. They must excel on the field and in the classroom and demonstrate loyalty and dedication to the team.
Quinnipiac will also benefit from the return of the 2009 NEC Rookie of the Year Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.). The 2009 All-NEC Second Team member will be back for her sophomore season with the Bobcats after scoring 20 goals in her freshman campaign as well as collecting 19 draw controls and 22 ground balls. She will be joined by second-year regulars Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.), Kim Davis (Darien, Conn.) and goalkeeper Noelle Martello (Westbury, N.Y.).
Caro added 10 freshmen to the roster this season to join the mix of players that have been to the postseason in each of the last three years. Twin sisters Emily Allen (Glastonbury, Conn.) and Sarah Allen (Glastonbury, Conn.), as well as Kayla Hamberry (Annapolis, Md.) will play attack in 2010, while Kiera Carey (Long Beach, N.Y.), Emily Mason (Fairfield, Conn.) and Dianna Milano (Lansdale, Pa.) will join the Bobcats' defensive corps this spring. Jackie Keleher (Manlius, N.Y.) and Lianne Toomey (Hicksville, N.Y.) will both play attack as well, while Mary Kate Manganiello (Media, Pa.) and Chelsea Guerrera (Wantagh, N.Y.) will see time at the midfield position.
The Bobcats begin the season on Feb. 26 when they host 2009 NCAA Tournament participant Fairfield at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Field. The Bobcats and Stags are set to square off at 2 p.m.