BOSTON -- The University of New Hampshire women's soccer team, which won a share of last year's regular-season conference title, has been selected third in the 2005 America East Preseason Coaches Poll that was released Tuesday.
UNH (11-8-2 overall, 6-3-0 America East in 2004) received a total of 48 points to place behind Boston University (60 points) and the University of Maine (58), both of whom received four first-place votes. Binghamton University received the other first-place vote and was fourth in the poll with 41 points.
Stony Brook University and the University of Vermont tied for fifth with 31 points and were followed by the University of Hartford (28), UMBC (18) and Albany (9).
New Hampshire welcomes back eight starters and 17 letterwinners overall, as well as 11 newcomers, for 11th-year head coach Michael Jackson. The Wildcats have eight Granite State student-athletes on the roster, including senior Lindsey Smagula of Bedford.
UNH's offense will be led by senior co-captain Julie Wernig (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), junior Hillary Mefferd (Portland, Ore.) and sophomore Adriana Gonzalez-Medina (Bainbridge Island, Wash.). Mefferd was an All-Conference First Team selection a year ago while Wernig was named to the Second Team and Gonzalez-Medina earned All-Rookie Team honors.
The defense is anchored by senior co-captain Debbie Newman (Union, Conn.), another All-Conference Second Team selection in 2004, and junior goalkeeper Lynn Gugliuzza (Kenmore, N.Y.).
New Hampshire opens the 2005 season Aug. 26 (2 p.m.) against defending national champion Notre Dame at the University of Vermont's tournament. The Wildcats' home opener is Sept. 2 against Brown University with a seven o'clock starting time at Bremner Field.