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Little East announces preseason women’s soccer poll

            NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Little East Conference has announced the results of the women's soccer preseason coaches' poll and Plymouth State University has been picked to finish fifth 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, led by fifth-year head coach Gene Smith, received 29 points in this year's poll to end up in the fifth spot after finishing in a tied for sixth a year ago.  Three-time defending regular season and tournament champion Western Connecticut State University, which is ranked 24th in the national Division III pre-season poll, is picked to win the Little East, receiving six of the eight first-place votes and 61 points.  Eastern Connecticut State University and Keene State College each got a top vote and finished second and third in the poll, respectively, and UMass Boston climbed from an eighth-place choice a year ago to the fourth spot in this year's poll.  Rounding out the poll is UMass Dartmouth (6th), Rhode Island College (7th) and the University of Southern Maine (8th).

            PSU was at the .500 mark in late October last season before stumbling to four straight losses to end the season at 5-9-4 overall and 1-5-1 in conference play.  The Panthers open this year's campaign at home at Panther Field on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 1:00 p.m. against Granite State rival New England College.

            The LEC women's soccer regular season schedule includes one match against the other seven schools in the conference.  The Little East tournament, which includes the top six 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 women's soccer preseason poll is listed below: 

2009 LEC Women's Soccer Pre-Season Coaches Poll

1.        Western Connecticut (6)                61

2.        Eastern Connecticut (1)                 54

3.        Keene State (1)                              52

4.        UMass Boston                                33

5.        Plymouth State                             29

6.        UMass Dartmouth                          28

7.        Rhode Island College                     17

8.        Southern Maine                              14


           (first-place votes in parentheses)

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