Northeast Conference 2012 Preseason Poll

Somerset, NJ After winning their first Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship in 2011 Quinnipiac has been selected by the league's coaches to repeat in 2012. The Bobcats received six first place votes, while Robert Morris was voted second.

Last year's runners-up Mount St. Mary's was picked third and received two first place votes, while Monmouth, predicted to finish fourth, also recorded a first place vote. Sacred Heart earned a first-place nod and finished fifth, followed by Bryant in sixth. Central Connecticut was tabbed seventh with Saint Francis (PA) in eighth, while Wagner and Long Island rounded out the ten-team field.

2012 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Quinnipiac (6)
2. Robert Morris
3. Mount St. Mary's (2)
4. Monmouth (1)
5. Sacred Heart (1)
6. Bryant
7. Central Connecticut
8. Saint Francis (PA)
9. Wagner
10. LIU Brooklyn

After three consecutive trips to the NEC Championship game that ended in heartbreak Quinnipiac (13-5, 8-1 NEC) finally reversed its fate in 2011 by taking home the NEC title in a convincing 15-3 win over Mount St. Mary's. The reigning champions have been picked to return to the top spot in 2012 as long time head coach Danie Caro welcomes back 2011 NEC Player of the Year Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, NY/North Babylon) and 2011 Tournament MVP Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, MA/Hopkinton). Caroleo, a midfielder, returns for her senior season after notching 53 goals and 10 assists as a junior while collecting 37 ground balls and 39 draw controls. The North Babylon, NY native posted at least two points in every game during the regular season and totaled six markers on three different occasions, which tied the NEC record. She finished the season averaging 3.50 points per game, which ranked her second in the league. Gibney, a senior and two-time member of the All-NEC first-team, will look to pick up right where she left off in 2011, when she recorded 38 goals and 15 assists. The midfielder also proved to be critical on the circle where she led the team with 47 draw controls. The Bobcats also return second team All-NEC goalkeeper Noelle Martello (Westbury, NY/Carle Place). The senior averaged 9.67 saves per-game and a league leading .510 save percentage in 2011, which ranked her 2nd in the nation. Redshirt senior Jennifer Skipper (Centerport, NY/Harborfields) and junior Lianne Toomey (Hickville, NY/Hicksville) both proved to be offensive threats in last year's NEC Tournament as the attackers scored a combined eleven points on the weekend.

Coming off a breakthrough season which featured the program's first appearance in the NEC Tournament and an NEC Coach of the Year nod for fifth year coach Katy Phillips, Robert Morris (8-9, 7-2) will look to build on these experiences in 2012. The Colonials will rely heavily on NEC first-team member Colleen O'Donnell (Portland, OR/St. Mary's Academy), who not only had a eye for the goal, scoring 30 goals to go along with 12 assists as a junior, but held the national standard in caused turnovers, averaging 3.42 per game. Emily VanDyne (Webster, NY/Webster Thomas) will also play a major role for RMU in her sophomore season. After tallying 20 goals and nine assists in her first year, the All-NEC Rookie will be a leader in the attacking end for the Colonials. Rachel Engel (Pittsburg, PA/Upper St. Clair) and Cara Hernandez (New Albany, OH/New Albany) will also be threats in the attacking end after scoring a combined 50 points in 2011, while sophomore MacKenzie Lawler (Okemos, MI/Okemos) brings experience to the midfield after starting in 15 of 16 games as a freshman.

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