Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Elms College field hockey squad was selected to finish as the 2017 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Champions in the 2017 NECC Field Hockey Coaches' Preseason Poll, announced by the league office Monday. The Blazers received 14 total points, including a pair of first-place votes.
The Blazers delivered their winningest season since 1989 under the first-year head coach Anika Goodhue, posting a 10-10 record with a 7-3 mark in conference action. Entering her second season at the helm, Goodhue returns 18 players from the 2016 edition, including nine players from the starting lineup. Key returners in 2017 feature First Team All-NECC selection junior Madison Messier (Warren, Mass.), junior goalkeeper Jillian Lapponese (Enfield, Conn.), and veteran senior defender Alyssa Falvo (Wilbraham, Mass.). Messier set new single-season records in goals (17) and points (40), ranking second in the NECC in both categories. Lapponese lead the NECC in save percentage (.811), while ranking second in goals against average (1.71).
The Blazers are set to open the 2017 with a non-conference road trip to Colby-Sawyer Sunday, September 3rd for a 1:00 p.m. match.
Earning second in the polls with 12 total points and one first place nod was Wheelock College. The Wildcats return eleven members of their 2016 team including eight starters. Wheelock will look to team leader Katie Frade to guide their offense throughout the season.
The Blazers and the Wildcats both earned 7-3 conference records in 2016, while they split their two head to head regular season contests. Frade finished finished first in goals in conference play last season with 15, while Elms College's Messier finished third with 11 conference goals.
The final first place vote went to Becker College who finished with nine points. The Hawks will have a young team this season as they will work without the reigning NECC Player of the Year Amy Grenier.
Bay Path University finished fourth in the polls with five total points. The Wildcats will showcase nine returners including two All-NECC First Team members, Casey Lamotte and Angela Younger.
Most NECC teams will begin their seasons with nonconference match ups on Friday, September 1st. NECC action will begin on Saturday, October 7thas Elms College travels to Bay Path University.
2017 New England Collegiate Conference Field Hockey Coaches' Preseason Poll
1. Elms - 14 (2)
2. Wheelock - 12 (1)
3. Becker - 9 (1)
4. Bay Path - 5
Source: (NECC Athletics)
ELMS FIELD HOCKEY