BOSTON - The University of New Hampshire women's soccer team, which took second place in the 2002 America East standings, was selected third in the America East preseason poll that was released Tuesday.
The University of Hartford, which won both the regular season and tournament titles a year ago, is the preseason favorite to win the women's soccer conference tile this year, according to a vote of the head coaches. The Hawks received seven of a possible nine first-place votes and 89 points overall. Boston University received two first-place votes and 71 points. UNH (61 points), Stony Brook University (51) and University of Maine (48, one first-place vote) round out the top five.
Northeastern University (43), Binghamton University (36), University of Vermont (24), University of Maryland, Baltimore County (22) and University at Albany (11) complete the 10-team poll.
The top six teams in the conference will advance to the America East tournament and the winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA College Cup.
New Hampshire is led by 2002 America East Coach of the Year Michael Jackson and three returning All-Conference Second Team selections - Chiara Best (Rose Valley, Pa.), Debbie Newman (Ashford, Conn.) and Ana Tobon (Philadelphia, Pa.).
UNH opens the 2003 season Aug. 30 (12 p.m.) against Iona College at the University of Vermont. The first home game is Sept. 10 (7 p.m.) vs. the University of Massachusetts at Bremner Field.
2003 Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
1. Hartford (7) 89
2. Boston U. (2) 71
3. New Hampshire 61
4. Stony Brook 51
5. Maine (1) 48
6. Northeastern 43
7. Binghamton 36
8. Vermont 24
9. UMBC 22
10. Albany 11