HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University women's soccer team was recently selected to finish sixth in the 2012 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, announced by the league office on Monday, August 13. The Bobcats, who had advanced to three straight postseason tournaments prior to last season, look to bounce back and dethrone Saint Francis (Pa.) from the top slot.
The Red Flash received six first-place votes in the preseason poll, after claiming top slot in the 2011 regular-season standings. LIU Brooklyn, the 2011 NEC Champion, claimed the second spot and picked up five first-place votes. Monmouth and Sacred Heart, both NEC semifinalists last fall, were tabbed third and fourth. Central Connecticut was picked fifth, followed by Quinnipiac in sixth, Bryant in seventh, and Robert Morris in eighth. Wagner (9th), Fairleigh Dickinson (10th) and Mount St. Mary's (11th) rounded out the field.
2012 Northeast Conference Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Saint Francis (PA) (6)
2. LIU Brooklyn (5)
4. Sacred Heart
5. Central Connecticut
8. Robert Morris
10. Fairleigh Dickinson
11. Mount St. Mary's
Unfortunately, the Bobcats lose their top goal-scorer in Furtuna Velaj, who concluded her campaign with six goals and two assists for a total of 14 points. However, returning to the lineup will be a 2011 All-NEC selection, senior midfielder Shauna Edwards. Edwards posted three goals and three assists from the middle of the pitch a year ago, two statistics that should increase this season. Edwards put together a stellar offseason and could compete for the 2012 NEC Player of the Year award.
Edwards will receive some help on the attack though, as 2011 All-Rookie Team honoree Jess Lavoie, junior Beck Kiting, senior Crystal Burns and junior Aine Mckeever return to the roster. Lavoie led the Bobcats' midfield and was the team's only freshman to start in every game last season, while Kiting, Burns and McKeever combined for five goals and six assists for a total of 16 points.
On the other side ball, Jill Kelley will return for her last year of eligibility. In 2011, Kelley started in all 16 games for the Bobcats, collecting 71 saves on the year. For her career, she has accumulated a save percentage just shy of 80 percent and a goals against average of 1.25. Head Coach Dave Clarke will enjoy her leadership between the posts this fall.
Quinnipiac's quest for its second Northeast Conference Championship begins on Sunday, August 26 with a non-conference showdown against Providence College. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at the QU Soccer Field. The Bobcats open conference play against Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday, September 21 in hopes of reaching the NEC Tournament, which is scheduled for the first weekend in November.
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 2012 Quinnipiac Women's Schedule will also be available for download at www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com for all mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as all desktop computers.
Contact: Tony Distasio; email@example.com