TOWSON, Md. – Elizabethtown College and Catholic University of America tied for the top spot in the Landmark Field Hockey Coaches' Preseason Poll. The Blue Jays received 62 points and four first place votes while the Cardinals received three first place votes for 62 points. Susquehanna University picked up the last first place nod for 48 points to rank third. Goucher College rounds out the top half of the poll with 29 points.
The defending Landmark champion Blue Jays should be formidable again in 2017, with 14 returning players --half of them starters-- from last season's 14-5 team. The loss of two-time All-Landmark First Teamers Halley Donlin and Nicole Leaf will certainly be felt, but the team remains in solid hands. Senior forward Emma Christman put up a team-high 27 points last fall on her way to All-Landmark First Team honors, while fellow senior, midfielder Megan Eppley, put forth 13 points while starting all 19 games to earn all-conference First Team recognition. Juniors Renee Grill (All-Landmark Second Team) and Kendra Downey anchor a defense that allowed just 1.42 goals per game in 2016.
Catholic and second-year head coach Heidi Lewis returns all but two players from a squad that went 6-1 in conference play last season. Catholic returns an All-American and Defensive Player of the Year in Kelly Cousoulis along with three All-Landmark selections in Lane Adams, Rachel Day, and Marissa Martinelli. Sophie Hamilton will be in goal once again for Catholic. The rising senior posted an 0.86 goals against average over six games in 245 minutes.
Susquehanna finished as the runner-up last season and Susquehanna is guided by first-year head coach Allison Fordyce. Fordyce takes over the program after serving as assistant coach since 2012. The River Hawks finished the 2016 season with an overall record of 15-4 and a conference mark of 5-2 and welcome back three all-conference performers and the 2016 Rookie of the Year Hunter Pitman. Pitman was the top scorer for the River Hawks with 22 goals and added seven assists. Taylor Franco, who was Second Team All-Conference ranked second with 15 goals and six assists.
Coming off their second postseason appearance, Goucher returns six starters to the 2017 lineup including Second Team All-Conference selection Sarah Shklanko. Head coach, Megan Williams, who was named the 2016 Landmark Conference Coach of the Year, enters her sixth season at the helm of the Gophers with a 35-47 overall record. Under her leadership, the Gophers have placed seven players on the All-Landmark Conference team
The 2017 season begins with non-conference play on Friday, September 1. The first Landmark match of the season is slated for Saturday, September 23. The regular season closes on Saturday, October 28 and leads into the annual four-team Landmark Tournament. Semifinal play is set for Wednesday, November 1. The championship will be hosted by the highest remaining seed on Saturday, November 4.
|2017 Landmark Women's Field Hockey Preseason Poll|
||Points (First-Place Votes)|