CAMBRIDGE, Mass.  – It could be a case of déjà vu for the University of New Hampshire field hockey team, which finished fourth in the 2007 America East standings and has been selected fourth in the 2008 America East Field Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll that was released Thursday.

UNH received 14 points overall to place behind the University at Albany (four first-place votes; 24 points), Boston University (two; 22) and the University of Vermont (16 points). The University of Maine (nine) and Fairfield University (five) completed the poll.

New Hampshire natives Sarah Craigue (Concord) and Kiera Williams (Dover) will be two key players for the 2008 Wildcats. Craigue is the team’s top returning scorer while Williams garnered America East All-Conference Second Team honors last season as a back.

Junior Meg Shea (Melrose, Mass.) also earned Second Team accolades in ’07 and is expected to be one of UNH’s top point producers this year. Senior Kara Napolitano (Waltham, Mass.) and junior Cally Cooke (Newburyport, Mass.) join Williams to create the backbone of a formidable backfield.

This year’s America East field hockey championship will take place Nov. 7 & 9 at the site of the highest seed with an artificial turf surface. The top four teams from the regular season will participate in the tournament, with the winner of the championship receiving an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.

UNH, under the guidance of 18th-year head coach Robin Balducci, opens the 2008 season Aug. 30 at American University. The Wildcats’ first home game is Sept. 5 (2 p.m.) against Brown University.

2008 America East Field Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Albany (4)           24
2. Boston U. (2)      22
3. Vermont             16
4. New Hampshire   14
5. Maine                    9
6. Fairfield                 5
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