MADISON, N.J. – The Juniata College field hockey team has claimed the Landmark Championship each of the past three years, and the Eagles are the favorites to earn the title for the fourth time as selected in the Landmark Preseason Field Hockey Poll. The seven head field hockey coaches and sports information directors at each institution that sponsor the sport were polled for the preseason ballot.
Juniata was picked to finish either first or second on every ballot to help collect 75 points to earn the top spot. The Catholic University of America was the second choice with 65 points, while Susquehanna University sits in third position with 54 points. The poll results were significantly spread out with at least 10 points separating all but one position in the poll.
Juniata went unbeaten in Landmark play last year, then won the Landmark Championship and finished 17-4 on the year. The team lost two key defenders, but brings back Meghan McGlone and Paula Price who were the Landmark Defensive and Offensive Players of the Year respectively last season.
Catholic welcomes back four of its five All-Conference performers from last year's team that went 5-1 in the conference and 12-7 overall. Catholic lost just two starters from that team and All-Region defender Liz Grumbein anchors the defense while leading goal scorer Meredith Chandler will spearhead the offense.
An appearance in the Landmark Championship capped a 10-9 season for Susquehanna which also went 4-2 in conference. Landmark Rookie of the Year Ally Bradley captured All-Region honors in her freshman season and is one of two returning All-Conference selections for the team that graduated two seniors.
Drew University was the fourth Landmark postseason team last season and collected 42 points to place fourth in the poll. Senior midfielder Kati Eggert and junior defender Hannah Rau both come back after All-Conference seasons and highlight the 15 returning players for the Rangers.
Thirty-eight points earned The University of Scranton the fifth spot in the poll after a 2-4 conference record. The Royals had a young team a year ago losing only three players to graduation. Beth McLaughlin was an All-Conference defender, helping the team allow the third-fewest goals in the Landmark last year.
Moravian College was also 2-4 in the conference last year and picked up 26 points in the voting to secure sixth place. Graduation hit the Greyhounds hard as they lost eight seniors from last year's team, but starting goalkeeper Maura Acox returns to anchor the defense after she had four shutouts last year.
Goucher College also has its starting goalkeeper back and brings back nearly the entire starting lineup for the squad that placed seventh in the poll with 15 points. All-Conference midfielder Allison Metzger highlights the returnees for the Gophers who earned four wins last year.
The 2010 season will begin for all seven Landmark teams on September 1 with each team beginning non-conference action. The conference season will begin on Saturday September 25 with three games. Drew plays at Moravian, Susquehanna hosts Catholic and Goucher plays on the road at Juniata.