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Little East Conference spring sports preseason polls released


- The pre-season polls have been announced for four Little East Conference spring sports, and the highlight for Plymouth State University is the women's lacrosse team being picked to capture its fourth straight LEC championship.

            The LEC polls are out for the sports of baseball, softball and men's and women's lacrosse.  The votes were cast by the conference's head coaches, and the polls were released Thursday by LEC Commissioner William M. Moore.

            The Panther women's lacrosse team, which has captured the first three LEC titles, received five of the seven first-place votes in this year's poll.  Keene State and Eastern Connecticut, which finished second and third in the voting, each received one first-place vote. PSU is 23-0 against LEC opponents since the conference started women's lacrosse in 2002.

            The PSU men's lacrosse team was picked to finished fourth among seven schools.  Defending champion Eastern Connecticut was picked first in this spring's poll, receiving four first-place votes, and last year's runner-up, Keene State, was voted second, receiving the other three first-place votes. PSU tied for fourth in the regular season last year with Southern Maine and UMass Boston.

            Plymouth State was the No. 6 pick among eight schools in the LEC softball poll.  Defending regular season champion Keene State received five first-place votes and was the top choice in the poll, while defending LEC tournament champion Western Connecticut got two top votes and finished second in the voting.  PSU placed sixth in the conference last year with a .500 record (7-7).

            The Panthers were picked eighth in the preseason baseball poll.  Perennial powers Eastern Connecticut and Southern Maine shared the top spot in the poll, each receiving four first-place votes.  PSU finished just behind UMass Boston for the final two spots, which is where the teams finished last season.

            The PSU men's lacrosse season opened last weekend, and the women's lax team is slated to begin this Saturday.  The Panther baseball and softball squads start their seasons the third week in March at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla.

  The complete Little East Conference spring preseason poll results are listed below:

  2005 Little East Conference Women's Lacrosse Pre-Season Poll
1.         Plymouth State                47 (5)
2.         Keene State                      40 (1)
3.         Eastern Connecticut         37 (1)
4.         UMass-Dartmouth            28
5.         Western Connecticut        18
6.         Southern Maine                 15
7.         Rhode Island College        11

  (first-place votes in parentheses)

  2005 Little East Conference Men's Lacrosse Pre-Season Poll
1.         Eastern Connecticut         46 (4)
2.         Keene State                      45 (3)
3.         UMass-Dartmouth            31
4.         Plymouth State                26
5.         UMass Boston                  21
6.         Western Connecticut        17
7.         Southern Maine                 10

  (first-place votes in parentheses)

  2005 Little East Conference Baseball Pre-Season Poll
1.         Eastern Connecticut         60 (4)
1.         Southern Maine                 60 (4)
3.         Rhode Island College        41
4.         UMass-Dartmouth            39
5.         Western Connecticut        35
6.         Keene State                      28
7.         UMass Boston                  13
8.         Plymouth State                12

  (first-place votes in parentheses)

  2005 Little East Conference Softball Pre-Season Poll
1.         Keene State                      59 (5)
2.         Western Connecticut        52 (2)
3.         Southern Maine                 48
4.         Rhode Island College        46 (1)
5.         Eastern Connecticut         31
6.         Plymouth State                27
7.         UMass-Dartmouth            13
8.         UMass Boston                  12

  (first-place votes in parentheses)

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