August 25, 2014

Women's Soccer Places Second In Little East Conference Preseason Poll

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass.—In one of the closest votes in recent Little East Conference history, UMass Boston women's soccer was picked to finish second in the Little East Preseason Coaches' Poll, the league office announced Monday afternoon. 

The two-time defending Little East Regular Season Champions earned 49 total points and two-first place votes, just behind poll favorite Keene State College. The Owls, the defending Little East Conference Tournament Champions, finished with four first-place votes and 53 points to earn first place in the poll.

Eastern Connecticut State University was a close third, as the tournament runner-ups took home the final two first-place votes and finished with 46 points. With three teams separated by just seven points, the poll marks the second-tightest Little East women's soccer poll in the past eight years.

Rounding out the rest of the poll were Western Connecticut State University (39), UMass Dartmouth (31), University of Southern Maine (25), Plymouth State University (22) and Rhode Island College (15). 

The Beacons' two first-place votes marked just the second-time in program history that UMass Boston had received a first-place vote in the history of the poll. A year ago, UMass Boston earned their best-ever preseason poll finish with six first-place votes and a conference-best 62 points.

UMass Boston built off the preseason hype to finish 6-1 against the rest of the Little East and earned their second-straight Regular Season Title. Despite bowing out in the Little East Conference semifinals, the Beacons concluded the year with the second-most wins in program history (15-5).

Ninth-year head coach Amy Zombeck will be relying heavily on her senior captains Krista Ledin (Bridgewater, Mass.), Brittany Castillo (Yarmouth, Mass.) and Dani Perkins (Murrieta, Calif.) as the Beacons welcome 11 new players to the roster.

Ledin, the nation's second-leading scorer amongst DI, DII and DIII male and female athletes over the past three years (81 goals), will look to lead the Little East in scoring for a fourth-straight year-despite the loss of fellow All-Conference forward Tayla Andrews ('14).

Ledin will team up with fellow seniors and All-Conference players Ericka Garufi (Milton, Mass.) and Amanda Pugliese (Pembroke, Mass.), along with several newcomers to carry the scoring load this season. UMass Boston has finished first or second in the Little East in scoring in each of the past three seasons, including two seasons in which they've averaged three or more goals.

Defensively the Beacons are looking to solidify their midfield and back line after losing All-Conference honorees Sam Cristoforo ('14) and Alli Modzelewski ('14).

Midfielder Kara Peters (Agawam, Mass.) and defenders Sam Bendick (New Egypt, N.J.), Alexandria Levesque (Metheun, Mass.) and Castillo will look to anchor a Beacons' defense that should have several new faces playing significant minutes. The Beacons have allowed less than 1.25 goals per game in five-consecutive seasons.

In net, Perkins and junior Kristen Spain (Quincy, Mass.) will aim to continue to rewrite the program's record books. Perkins owns the program marks for career save percentage (.833) and goals against average (0.72), while Spain holds the school records for career wins (31) and shutouts (14).

The Beacons will open regular season play Friday August 29 when they travel to Babson College for a 2:30 p.m. start. UMass Boston will start Little East play Saturday September 20 when they host the University of Southern Maine at 1 p.m. 

Little East Conference

2014 Women's Soccer Preseason Poll

 

Team

First Place Votes

Total Points

1. Keene State

4

53

2. UMass Boston

2

49

3. Eastern Connecticut

46

4. Western Connecticut

 

39

5. UMass Dartmouth

 

31

6. Southern Maine 

 

25

7. Plymouth State

 

22

8. Rhode Island 

 

15