Defending NEC Champion Pioneers Picked 3rd in NEC Preseason Poll

Jan. 27, 2009

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (January 27, 2009) - The Sacred Heart women's lacrosse team, the 2008 Northeast Conference Champion, was picked to finish third in the 2009 NEC Preseason Coaches Poll. The Pioneers received two first place votes in this year's poll as co-regular season champion Quinnipiac was tabbed as this year's favorite. The Bobcats garnered four first place votes followed by Monmouth who grabbed three first place nods.

Sacred Heart, 12-8 and 7-1 in the NEC last season, captured its first NEC Tournament championship in dramatic fashion on a Carissa Hauser (East Northport, NY/Commack) goal with just three seconds left on the clock to defeat Quinnipiac, 15-14. A date with Boston University in the NCAA Tournament capped a storybook season for the Pioneers, who also earned a share of their first NEC regular season title.

In defense of the crown, tenth year head coach, Laura Cook is armed with a slew of all-league honorees. Senior midfielder Mary Montesarchio (Cortlandt Manor, NY/Walter Panas), a three-time all-NEC selection who has drawn two straight first team accolades, established a school record with 38 assists last season. She ranked second in the conference with 1.90 apg and eighth with 2.90 ppg. Two of the targets of her pinpoint passes were Hauser and Amanda Williams (Monroe, CT/Masuk). Hauser, a junior attacker, scored a game and career-high five times in the title win over Quinnipiac and finished with 26 goals on the year en-route to second team all-NEC honors. A senior attacker, Williams was also voted to the second team and was tabbed the NEC Tournament Most Valuable Player after finishing with six goals and nine points in Sacred Heart's two one-goal victories. She led the Bobcats with 45 goals, 56 points and 38 draw controls, and ranked in the NEC top-10 in goals per game (2.25) and points per game (2.80). Junior keeper Chelsea Wagner (Aurora, CO/Smoky Hill) earned distinction as the league leader in save percentage (.520), which ranked fourth in Division I.