Women’s Soccer Pegged Sixth in NEC Poll for Second Straight Year

Junior back Lia Palmacci returns for the sixth ranked Pioneers.
Junior back Lia Palmacci returns for the sixth ranked Pioneers.

Complete NEC Release (PDF)

SOMERSET, N.J. – For the second straight season, the Sacred Heart University women's soccer team was chosen sixth in the 11 team Northeast Conference preseason coaches' poll.  The Pioneers finished sixth last season with a 4-3-3 league record and finished 8-6-5 overall.  The defending champion, Saint Francis (PA), was selected to win its second straight NEC title after landing in second during the 2010 regular season en route to a 15-5-2 record for the season.

Head coach Kim Banner returns each of her top three scorers from a year ago as the Pioneers aim to return to the NEC Tournament for the first time since falling to Monmouth in the 2007 title game, 1-0.  Senior captain Samantha Kee (Haskell, N.J.) tied sophomore Lucy Gildein (Topsfield, Mass.) with a team high five goals, while senior Amanda Stiles (Miller Place, N.Y.) recorded a team-high 13 points on four goals and five assists.

The 2011 campaign gets underway for Sacred Heart at Albany on August 26 at 3:00 pm.  Two days later, the Pioneers take the field for their home opener against Illinois State at noon.  The NEC stretch of the slate begins with a pair of games at home against intrastate rivals Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut on September 23 and 25 at Campus Field.

2011 NEC Coaches' Poll
1. Saint Francis-PA (8)
2. Monmouth (2)
3. Long Island
4. Central Connecticut (1)
5. Quinnipiac
6. Sacred Heart
7. Bryant
8. Robert Morris
9. Wagner
10. Mount St. Mary's
11. Fairleigh Dickinson