HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac women's lacrosse team has been selected as pre-season Northeast Conference co-favorite, along with in-state rival Sacred Heart, as announced by the league on Wednesday, Feb. 9. The Bobcats finished the 2010 regular season with a program best 8-1 record in the NEC and a 10-7 overall mark. Quinnipiac put together its third consecutive one loss season in conference play en route to its third straight trip to the NEC Championship Game. The Bobcats received three first place votes, while Sacred Heart garnered two. Monmouth, which was picked third in the conference, received the remaining five first-place votes.
"It's nice to know the other coaches in the league respect our program," said Head Coach Danie Caro. "But pre-season polls don't mean much once the season starts. We will find out once we hit the field where we truly stand in the conference. Our team has a solid group of returning players, as well as several freshmen who are excited to earn playing time and make contributions this season. The talent to achieve our goals is there, but we still have a lot of work to do in order to come together as team in order to execute and win games."
Following the top three teams are Mount St. Mary's and Robert Morris, which share fourth place in the poll. Wagner, Bryant and Saint Francis (Pa.) hold the next three spots, while Long Island and Central Connecticut round out the ninth and tenth place teams.
2011Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches'
1. Quinnipiac (3)
Sacred Heart (2)
3. Monmouth (5)
4. Mount St. Mary's
8. Saint Francis (Pa.)
9. Long Island
10. Central Connecticut State
Quinnipiac will rely on its seasoned leadership, as it returns 18 letter winners from its 2010 campaign. At the helm of the veteran roster are tri-captains Lexi DeStefano (Brookfield, Conn.), Kaitlyn Kelly (North Massapequa, N.Y.) and Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.). The senior trio looks to integrate the 11 new members of the team in timely fashion with hopes of returning to the conference championship for a fourth-consecutive season.
The Bobcats open the season in two weeks time when they head out on the road against Fairfield on Friday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. Quinnipiac will then host its first home games of the season on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 12 p.m. against Connecticut and Tuesday, Mar. 8 at 2:30 p.m. against Brown. The team then heads back out on the road for two games against Vermont on Saturday, Mar. 13 at 12 p.m. and again in its first NEC contest of the season on Sunday, March 20 at 1 p.m. against Central Connecticut.
Quinnipiac returns home for four consecutive home games, its longest stretch of the season, beginning with Saint Francis (Pa.) on Friday, Mar. 23 at 3 p.m. The Bobcats host Robert Morris at 12 p.m. the following Sunday, Mar., 25. Quinnipiac plays Sacred Heart on Friday, Apr. 1 at 3 p.m. before it hosts non-conference opponent Denver on Sunday, Apr. 3 at 11 a.m. The Bobcats play its final non-conference regular season game when they visit Columbia on Wednesday, Apr. 6 at 3 p.m.
Quinnipiac then travels to Bryant on Sunday, Apr. 10 at 12 p.m. before returning home to host Wagner on Friday, Apr. 15 at 4 p.m. Long Island comes to town the following Sunday, Apr. 14 at 12 p.m. Quinnipiac finishes its regular season schedule with two road games against Mount St. Mary's on Thursday, Apr. 21 at 4 p.m. and Monmouth on Saturday, Apr. 23 at 1 p.m.