CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The 14th-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse program received two of a possible six first-place votes and a total of 32 points to place second in the 2009 America East Women’s Lacrosse Preseason Poll that was released Tuesday.
Boston University received the other five first-place votes and 35 points overall to enter as the preseason favorite to win the league title. UNH was followed in the poll by the University of Vermont (25 points), University at Albany (18), Stony Brook University (12), UMBC (11) and Binghamton University (8).
UNH, led by 13th-year head coach Sandy Bridgeman, returns 16 letterwinners – including eight starters – from last year’s team that advanced to the NCAA tournament and finished the season at 13-6 overall. The Wildcats boasted the seventh-ranked defense in the nation a year ago, and the offense was led by America East Women’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) and Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.), who averaged 3.11 and 3.12 points-per-game, respectively.
The top four teams in the conference will advance to the America East Championship with the winner of the tournament receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship. The league tourney will be played April 30 & May 2 at the site of the highest seed.
New Hampshire opens the ’09 season Feb. 22 at home against Bryant University. Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m.