PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- The University of New Hampshire garnered one first-place vote and was selected seventh overall in the 2001 Atlantic 10 Football Conference Preseason Poll, which was released along with the preseason All-Conference teams on Thursday afternoon. UNH senior center Jason Ball (Londonderry, N.H.) and junior tailback Stephan Lewis (Coatesville, Pa.) were selected to the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference First Team.
Delaware (12-2 in 2000) received 11 first-place votes and is atop the poll. The Fightin' Blue Hens, who shared last year's title with Richmond and went on to the semifinals of the playoffs, were followed by Hofstra (9-4), which also received 11 first-place votes in its first year with the conference. Villanova (five first-place votes; 5-6), Richmond (two; 10-3) and Massachusetts (7-4) round out the top five.
The remainder of the poll is William & Mary (5-6), UNH (6-5), Maine (5-6), Rhode Island (3-8), James Madison (6-5) and Northeastern (4-7). Both the poll and the all-conference teams were selected by coaches and the media.
Ball, one of four UNH senior captains, will be the center that quarterback Ryan Day (Manchester, N.H.) takes snaps from for the third consecutive season. Despite missing last season's final two games, Ball was an All-New England First Team selection and was also named to the Atlantic 10 Second Team. In 1999, Ball anchored an offensive line that allowed the fewest sacks in the league.
Like Ball, Lewis missed the final two games of the 2000 season and was named to both the All-New England First Team and the Atlantic 10 Second Team. Lewis led the Wildcats in rushing (200 rushes, 953 yds.), all-purpose yardage (1,468) and touchdowns (13) and was the team's second-leading receiver with 515 yards on 51 catches. Highlights from the season included three rushing TDs in the season-opener vs. Hampton and a 245 yard, three touchdown effort against UMass.
UNH football media day will be held on the Durham campus Aug. 10 beginning at 1 p.m.