PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Three BIG EAST schools landed in the top 15 of the 2010 Kookaburra/NFHCA Preseason Poll with three others receiving votes, as announced by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association today. Connecticut took top honors for the conference, ranking No. 5. Syracuse was close behind at No. 8, while the No. 13 spot went to Louisville.
In fifth, the Huskies collected 769 points.UConn posted a 19-2 record for the 2009 campaign, finishing second in the conference with a 5-1 BIG EAST mark. This year the Huskies will look to junior BIG EAST Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Rayell Heistand to anchor the defense, which led the league in goals-against average last season at 1.17.
Slotted eighth, Syracuse tallied 712 points. The Orange won the 2009 BIG EAST regular-season crown, posting a 6-0 record in conference play and going 17-3 overall. They return two-time all-America forward Lindsey Conrad, who was named the BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. In 2009, the senior finished second in the BIG EAST in points, collecting 43 with 17 goals and nine assists.
Louisville totaled 308 points to earn the 13th position. Last year, the Cardinals went 12-8 overall and 4-2 in the BIG EAST to finish third in the regular-season standings. All-BIG EAST preseason picks Hayley Turner and Nicole Youman led the Cards offensively in 2009, recording 41 and 38 points, respectively.
Other BIG EAST schools receiving votes included Providence with 43, Villanova with eight and Rutgers with four.
Field hockey season officially starts Friday, Aug. 27 with BIG EAST play beginning Friday, Sept. 17. The BIG EAST field hockey teams play a six-game league schedule.