BOSTON- The University of New Hampshire women's soccer team, which tied for fourth place in the 2001 America East standings, was selected fourth in the America East preseason poll that was released Tuesday.
Two-time America East defending champion Boston University is again the preseason favorite to win the women's soccer conference tile this year, according to a vote of the head coaches. The Terriers received six of a possible nine first-place votes and 78 points overall to edge University of Hartford, which had three first-place votes and 75 points.
University of Maine was third with 53 votes. Two votes separated University of New Hampshire (46), Northeastern University (45) and Stony Brook University (44). America East newcomer Binghamton University totaled 28 votes to finish seventh. University of Vermont (26) and University at Albany (10) rounded out the poll.
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 College Cup.
New Hampshire (6-11-3 overall, 5-5-1 America East) returned to the America East Championship last fall after a two-year absence. Coach Mike Jackson's team returns sophomore Chiara Best (Rose Valley, Pa.), a second-team all-conference choice, who led the Wildcats in scoring with eight goals and five assists for 21 points. The defense is anchored by senior goalkeeper Kristen Ouellette (Weatogue, Conn.), who stymied the opposition to less than two goals in 14 of 20 matches and recorded a 1.38 GAA with a .774 save percentage.
UNH opens the 2002 season Aug. 31 (noon) against Georgia Southern at the University of Vermont. The first home game is Sept. 8 (1 p.m.) vs. intrastate rival Dartmouth College.