BOSTON -- The University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team, the defending regular season and tournament conference champion, was selected second in the America East 2005 Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released Tuesday. UNH received three first-place votes and a total of 44 points to place behind preseason favorite Boston University, which had four first-place votes and 46 points.
Boston U. and UNH were followed in the poll by UMBC (35 points), University at Albany (26), University of Vermont (19), Stony Brook University (18) and Binghamton (8).
UNH, ranked No. 17 in the Inside Lacrosse Division I Preseason Poll, returns a total of 15 letterwinners, including nine starters, from the 2004 team that advanced to the NCAA tournament, went 15-5 overall and 6-0 in America East.
The Wildcats boast the conference's reigning Player of the Year in Jess Burnap (New Canaan, Conn.), Rookie of the Year in Cristina Covucci (Concord, Mass.) and Coach of the Year in Sandy Bridgeman, who enters her ninth season as UNH's head coach.
Burnap broke the program's single-season goals record with 72 last year and finished with 81 points. The 'Cats also return the top scorer in America East, Katie Leland (Timonium, Md.), who shattered the single-season points record with 90 on 60 goals and 30 assists. This high scoring duo, as well as Laura Dosdall (Wellesley, Mass.), Renee Nemmers (Englewood, Colo.), Stacey Plati (Nashua, N.H.) and Covucci, earned All-Conference First Team honors last season.
The top four teams advance to the 2005 America East Championships, which will be held May 5 and 7 at the site of the No. 1 seed.
New Hampshire begins the season March 1 (3:30 p.m.) at the College of the Holy Cross. The first Wildcat home game is March 9 (3 p.m.) vs. Yale.