Monmouth Chosen First in NEC Preseason Lacrosse Poll

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.- Monmouth University garnered eight of nine possible first place votes as it was chosen to repeat as Northeast Conference Champions in the 2013 NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll.

The Hawks, who won their fourth NEC Tournament in 2012, received eight first place votes followed by Quinnipiac ehivh received two. Mount St. Mary's was third, Central Connecticut was chosen fourth followed by Robert Morris and Sacred Heart in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Bryant was seventh, Wagner eighth, Saint Francis University ninth and LIU Brooklyn was picked 10th in the poll, which is voted on by the league's head coaches.

Monmouth wrapped up the 2012 season with five consecutive wins heading into its match-up with Towson in the NCAA Tournament. Fourth-year coach Denise Wescott returns eight starters from that team, including first team all-conference midfielder Kaleigh Gibbons (Candia, N.H./Central/Robert Morris). The junior finished with 47 points, a team-leading 22 assists, 35 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers.

Junior attacker Alex Marino (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Twp.) started all 20 games last season, finishing with a team-high 48 points including 33 goals. Marino was an offensive catalyst for the Hawks, registering at least a point in 17 of 20 games.

Senior-captain Gianna D'Urso (Fairfield, N.J./West Essex) leads a talented defensive backfield for the Hawks. D'Urso was a First Team All-NEC selection a season ago, when she had the fourth most caused turnovers in the league and had 36 ground balls. Joining D'Urso on defense is junior Lauren Johnson (Bellmore, N.Y./Mepham) who locked up opposing offenses while recording 22 ground balls, 18 caused turnovers and gathering 14 draw controls.

Sophomore goalie Katie Donohoe (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross Catholic Secondary) had a breakout year as a freshman, earning NEC Tournament MVP honors after allowing a tournament record seven goals. Donohoe backstopped the Hawks with 165 saves and 52 ground balls while being named to the NEC All-Rookie team.

Wescott's team returns 20 letterwinners from a season ago and brought in a talented class of nine newcomers.

The season begins for MU on February 16 when the Hawks host future conference foe Fairfield at 12:00 p.m. on Kessler Field. Monmouth begins its NEC Title defense on March 22, when the Hawks host LIU Brooklyn. The Northeast Conference Tournament will be held on April 26-28 at the highest seed.

2013 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Monmouth (8)
2. Quinnipiac (2)
3. Mount St. Mary's
4. Central Connecticut
5. Robert Morris
6. Sacred Heart
7. Bryant
8. Wagner
9. Saint Francis U
10. LIU Brooklyn

2013-02-06



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