NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Little East Conference pre-season field hockey coaches' poll has been released and Plymouth State University has been picked to finish second among 12 schools in this year's race. The votes were cast by the conference's head coaches, and the poll was released by LEC Commissioner Jonathan Harper.
The Panthers, who tied for second in last year's standings and advanced to the LEC title game, received one first-place vote and 128 points in this year's poll. Three-time defending regular season and tournament champion Keene State College earned the top spot in the poll, receiving nine of 12 top votes and 139 points. UMass Dartmouth, which tied Plymouth State for second in the conference last season, got two top votes and finished third in the balloting, just behind PSU, and Southern Maine was picked fourth in this year's poll.
The next four spots in the poll included Westfield State, Bridgewater State, Worcester State and Salem State, with the bottom four slots taken up by Framingham State, Fitchburg State, Eastern Connecticut and Western Connecticut.
PSU, which also advanced to the ECAC New England Tournament championship game last fall, finished with a 15-8 overall record. Led by 10th-year head coach Bonnie Lord, the Panthers open this year's schedule on Saturday, Sept. 5, at Endicott College, with the home opener slated for Wednesday, Sept. 9, against Castleton State College.
The LEC field hockey schedule includes one regular season game against the other 11 schools. The conference tournament, which includes the top eight teams, is the first week in November, with the LEC champion receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The complete Little East Conference field hockey preseason poll is listed below:
2009 LEC Field Hockey Pre-Season Coaches Poll
1. Keene State (9) 139
2. Plymouth State (1) 128
3. UMass Dartmouth (2) 127
4. Southern Maine 101
5. Westfield State 84
6. Bridgewater State 80
7. Worcester State 68
8. Salem State 61
9. Framingham State 57
10. Fitchburg State 47
11. Eastern Connecticut 23
12. Western Connecticut 20
(first-place votes in parentheses)
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