In a preseason poll of the Northeast Conference coaches the Pioneer women's soccer team has been picked to finish the 2010 season in sixth. SHU closed out the 2009 campaign with a 4-5-1 record in league play and finished just three points out of the final spot in the NEC tournament. This year's graduating class reached the conference championship game as freshmen and will look to return to postseason play in 2010 as seniors.
Monmouth received seven first place votes and was selected as the preseason favorite to capture the league title. Central Connecticut State took home four first place votes and second in the poll. Long Island and Quinnipiac are both slated to make the postseason based on the rankings, taking home third and fourth, respectively. Saint Francis (PA) edged out the Pioneers in the fifth spot while Robert Morris sits just behind SHU in seventh. The bottom portion of the poll includes Bryant, Mount St. Mary's, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Wagner, in that order.
1. Monmouth (7)
The Pioneers return their top scorer from a year ago in Samantha Kee (Haskell, NJ). The junior forward tallied five goals and five assists for 15 total points a season ago. Kee will also serve as a team captain along with senior goaltender Meghan Reichelt (Selden, NY). Reichelt notched an impressive 0.99 goals against average and posted five shutouts in 2009.
Fellow seniors Leigh Dogmanits (Walnutport, PA) and Alex Mack (Freeport, ME) are also captains of this year's team. Dogmanits led the Pioneers in goals two seasons ago and started every game from her midfield position last year. Mack provides the Pioneers another offensive weapon along with her leadership and experience, totaling one goal and five assists so far in her career.
Sacred Heart will open the season with a four game home stand that kicks off Friday night at 8:00 as SHU takes on Army. The conference portion of the schedule begins September 28th as the Pioneers take to the road for a game with Fairleigh Dickinson. The 2010 NEC tournament will include the league's top four teams and will determine who receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The NEC tournament will be held November 5-7 and will be hosted by the #1 seed and regular season champion.