CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team, led by first-year Wildcat head coach Michael Daly, was selected second in the 2010 America East Women’s Lacrosse Preseason Poll that was released Thursday.

UNH, which advanced to the league championship game last year in its 12th consecutive America East tournament appearance, received 29 points to place behind defending champion Boston University. BU received all six possible first-place votes and a total of 36 points.

The University of Vermont, which garnered the other first-place vote, and the University at Albany tied for third place with 23 points. UMBC (19 points), Stony Brook University (10) and Binghamton University (7) complete the poll.

UNH, ranked 20th in the media’s preseason national poll, is led by senior captains Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) and Kellen Millard (Ipswich, Mass.) and junior captain Allie Duclos (South Windsor, Conn.) and will be anchored in the midfield by sophomores Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.), Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) and Hayley Rausch (Severna, Park).

Kaplan, a 2009 IWLCA Northeast Region Second Team and America East First Team honoree at attack, ranked fifth in the league in assists per game as well as 10th in points per game with totals of 29 goals and 25 assists for 54 points in 19 games; she was the only Wildcat to record double digits in goals, assists, ground balls, draw controls and caused turnovers. Duclos, who joined Kaplan on the America East First Team at defense, was second in the conference in draw controls and fourth in both ground balls and caused turnovers. Millard did not garner accolades in ’09 but did play a prominent role, including that of starter, on the defensive unit.

Both Cohen and Keagins were America East All-Rookie Team selections last season. Cohen finished with 11 goals and four assists in addition to 20 ground balls and 24 draw controls while Keagins’ statistics included 16 goals and 22 draw controls. Rausch was the top point producer of the three with 23 points on 17 goals and six assists.

The top four teams in the conference will advance to the America East Championship with the winner of the tournament receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship. The league tournament will be held May 6 & 8 at the site of the highest seed.

New Hampshire opens the 2010 season Feb. 24 at home against the College of the Holy Cross. Game time at Memorial Field is 4 p.m.

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