NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Defending champion Massachusetts has been tabbed as the favorite in the 2014 Atlantic 10 Conference Preseason Field Hockey Poll which was voted on by the league’s nine head coaches and announced Thursday by the league.
UMass received eight first-place votes for a total of 80 points to take the top spot. The 2014 A-10 runner up, Richmond earned one first place vote and a total of 72 points to land in second-place. UMass (11) and UR (7) have combined to win every A-10 Championship since 1996.
The Minutewomen, who have won back-to-back A-10 titles and three of the last four championships, return two-time A-10 Defensive Player of the Year Lauren Allymohamed and 2013 Offensive Player of the Year Brook Sabia. Allymohamed scored eight goals last season and anchored an UMass defense that surrendered 1.54 goals per game. For her efforts she was named a NFCA All-American. Sabia tallied an A-10 best 41 points a season ago, while her 20 goals ranked four best nationally.
Richmond returns NFCA All-American Rebecca Barry who had 40 points last season on 16 goals and eight assists. First-Team All-Atlantic 10 choice Amy Cooke will anchor a Spider defense that led the nation in goals against average (0.86) and save percentage (.819) in 2013.
VCU garnered 51 points to take the third slot, while field hockey affiliate member Lock Haven was tabbed fourth with 48 points. Kendell Combs is back in the mix for the Rams after scoring six goals and dishing out 11 assists for 23 points last season. Nakira Downes returns for LHU following a 2013 campaign which saw her tally 35 points on 11 goals and 13 assists.
Saint Joseph’s finished fifth in the poll with 39 points and will be under the direction of first-year head coach Lynn Farquhar in 2014. The A-10’s newest member Davidson tallied 35 points to finish sixth in the voting, while affiliate member Saint Francis (27 pts.), La Salle (22 pts.) and Saint Louis (12 pts.) rounded out the voting.
Richmond will play host to the 2014 A-10 Field Hockey Championship at Crenshaw Field on the UR campus. The top four teams in the A-10 standings at the conclusion of the regular season advance to the championship that will take place November 7-8.
2014 Atlantic 10 Field Hockey Preseason Poll
Team (2013 Overall; A-10) Pts. (First Place Votes)
|1. Massachusetts (16-4; 7-0)||80 (8)|
|2. Richmond (14-7; 6-1)||72 (1)|
|3. VCU (10-10; 4-3)||51|
|4. Lock Haven (14-7; 4-3||48|
|5. Saint Joseph's (6-13; 3-4)||39|
|6. Davidson (6-14; N/A)||35|
|7. Saint Francis (8-8; 3-4)||27|
|8. La Salle (5-14; 1-6)||22|
|9. Saint Louis (1-19; 0-7)||12|
Nakira Downes, Lock Haven
Lauren Allymohamed, UMass
Izzie Delario, UMass
Brooke Sabia, UMass
Sam Carlino, UMass
Rebecca Barry, Richmond
Amy Cooke, Richmond
Sam Ostoich, Richmond
Carissa Makea, Saint Francis
Autumn Pellman, Saint Francis
Jordan Martin Saint Joseph’s
Kendell Combs, VCU