Connecticut Tops 2012 BIG EAST Preseason Field Hockey Poll

Providence, R.I.- Connecticut was chosen as  the conference's top team in the 2012 BIG EAST Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll for the third consecutive year. The Huskies received all but one first-place vote to tally 34 points in a vote of the league's head coaches. The head coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team. Second-place Syracuse tallied 32 points after winning the 2011 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship. Louisville rounded out the top three with 27 points.

 

Connecticut is the reigning regular season BIG EAST Champion, finishing 6-0 in conference play. Despite a 3-2 loss to Syracuse in the 2011 BIG EAST Championship, the Huskies earned an at-large bid, reaching the NCAA Championship. Connecticut returns two of its leading goal scorers in Preseason All-BIG EAST selections Chloe Hunnable and Maria Elena Bolles. Hunnable and Bolles combined for 24 goals and 16 assists for a total of 64 points in 2011. Bolles was also recognized as the 2012 BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Hunnable was named 2011 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, as well as earning a spot on the 2011 All-BIG EAST First Team. She was the only freshman to earn 2011 BIG EAST Player of the Week honors, and the only player to be awarded BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week twice in 2011.

 

On the defensive end, Connecticut returns 2012 BIG EAST Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year and 2011 All-BIG EAST First Team selection Sarah Mansfield. The junior goalkeeper led the conference in goals against average (0.64), saves (21) and shutouts (4) in 2011 league play. Mansfield was selected to the 2011 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team, as well as being named 2010 Goalkeeper of the Year as a freshman. 

 

Syracuse received two first-place votes to total 32 points in the preseason poll. The Orange enter the 2012 season as reigning BIG EAST Champions after going 5-1 in conference play in 2011. Syracuse dropped a 2-1 decision to eventual 2011 NCAA Champion Maryland in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Syracuse will be anchored on defense by 2012 Preseason BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year Laura Hahnefeldt. The junior defender was a unanimous selection to the 2011 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team.

 

Syracuse returns 2011 BIG EAST Championship's Most Outstanding Performer, Lauren Brooks. The sophomore forward joins teammates Leonie Geyer, Laura Hahnefeldt and Iona Holloway on the All-BIG EAST Preseason Team. Junior midfielder Leonie Geyer was a unanimous selection after tallying 30 points last season.

 

Louisville completes the top three of the Preseason Coaches' Poll for the second consecutive year, receiving one first-place vote and 27 points total. The Cardinals reached the 2011 BIG EAST Championship Semifinal after a 3-3 conference record, going 10-9 overall. Louisville will look to replace the offense generated by 2011 All-BIG EAST First Team selection Hayley Turner. The Cardinals have three All-BIG EAST Preseason selections in three different positions; defender Dominique Pasqualichio, goalkeeper Erin Conrad and midfielder Alyssa Voelmle. Pasqualichio was a unanimous selection.

 

Rutgers was voted fourth-place in the preseason poll, followed by Villanova (fifth), Providence (sixth), and Georgetown (seventh).

 

Providence defender Henni Tietze and Rutgers midfielder Lisa Patrone round out the All-BIG EAST Preseason Team.  

 

The 2012 All-BIG EAST Preseason Field Hockey Team includes two seniors, five juniors and five sophomores. Since Georgetown rejoined the conference in field hockey in 2006, there have never been five sophomores selected to the preseason All-BIG EAST Team. In addition, this is the first year juniors have swept Preseason Player of the Year Honors since the conference took its current structure for field hockey in 2006.  

 

The 2012 field hockey season is slated to begin on Friday, Aug. 24, while BIG EAST competition begins Sept. 14. The seven BIG EAST field hockey teams play a six-game regular season league schedule. The BIG EAST Championship will be hosted by Louisville at Trager Stadium November 2-4. The top four teams in regular season conference play will advance, with the Champion receiving the league's automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Field Hockey Championship.

 

2012 BIG EAST Field Hockey Preseason Poll

 

Pts.

2011 BIG EAST Record

2011 Overall Record

2011 Finish

Connecticut (4)

34

6-0

19-3

1st

Syracuse (2)

32

5-1

19-4

2nd

Louisville (1)

27

3-3

10-9

T-3rd

Rutgers

17

2-4

5-13

5th

Villanova

15

3-3

8-11

T-3rd

Providence

14

1-5

4-14

T-6th

Georgetown

9

1-5

3-15

T-6th

 

2012 BIG EAST PRESEASON HONORS

PRESEASON BIG EAST OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Marie Elena Bolles, Jr., F, Connecticut

PRESEASON CO-BIG EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

Sarah Mansfield, Jr., GK, Connecticut

Laura Hahnefeldt, Jr., B, Syracuse

 

All-BIG EAST Preseason Team ^

*Marie Elena Bolles, Jr., F, Connecticut

*Chloe Hunnable, So., F, Connecticut

*Sarah Mansfield, Jr., GK, Connecticut

Erin Conrad, R-Sr., GK, Louisville

*Dominique Pasqualichio, R-So., B, Louisville

Alyssa Voelmle, So., M, Louisville

Henni Tietze, So., B, Providence

Lisa Patrone, Jr., M, Rutgers

Lauren Brooks, So., F, Syracuse

*Leonie Geyer, Jr., M, Syracuse

Laura Hahnefeldt, Jr., B, Syracuse

Iona Holloway, Sr., B, Syracuse

 

* - Unanimous Selection

 ^ -Due to a tie in voting, one member has been added to the All-BIG EAST Preseason Team