DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire field hockey team climbed four spots in the national rankings this week from 20th to No. 16 in the STX/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll, which was released Tuesday.
New Hampshire, which was ranked for five weeks and peaked at No. 14 in 1999 and was No. 20 in this year's poll for two non-consecutive weeks, vaulted to No. 16 despite being ousted in the first round of the NCAA Championships by defending national champion Maryland. It was UNH's second NCAA tournament appearance in three years.
The Wildcats, who were feted with Player of the Year (Jessica Russell) and Coach of the Year (Robin Balducci) honors by America East, finished the season at 14-8. The 'Cats won the America East regular-season title and had five players named to the Northeast Regional All-America first and second teams on Monday.
New Hampshire loses six seniors from the 2000 team - Amy Agulay (London, Ontario), Jaime Ehret (Old Greenwich, Conn.), Allie Lehmann (Granby, Conn.), Melissa Richards (Reading, Mass.), Jessica Russell (Harrisville, R.I.) and Kelly Stowe (Topsfield, Mass.).
The final poll will be released next Tuesday, Nov. 21.