CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team, led by second-year head coach Sarah Albrecht, tied for third in the 2014 America East Women's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches Poll that was released Thursday afternoon.
UNH received 14 points, as did UMBC, to place behind defending champion Stony Brook University (24 points; four first-place votes) and the University at Albany (22; two). The University of Vermont (11) and Binghamton University (5) complete the poll.
The Wildcats return 14 letterwinners, including seven starters, from last year's team that exceeded conference coaches' expectations by placing third in the America East standings – the 'Cats were picked sixth in the 2013 poll.
The offense is headlined by sophomore Laura McHoul (Westwood, Mass.), who led the 2013 Wildcats in both assists (33) and points (49) en route to being named America East co-Rookie of the Year, and junior Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.), an All-Conference Second Team and All-Academic Team selection who topped the 'Cats in goals (30).
Senior defender Jamie DePetris (Radnor, Pa.) and junior attack Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.) – two other All-Academic Team honorees – as well as All-Rookie Team member Nicole Grote (Ellicott City, Md.) are three other key returning Wildcats.
New Hampshire opens the 2014 season Feb. 15 at home against Hofstra University; game time at Cowell Stadium is 12 p.m. The top four teams in the America East final standings advance to the conference tournament, which will be played May 1 & 3 at the site of the top seed.