South Atlantic Conference Carolinas Announces Inaugural Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll

South Atlantic Conference Carolinas Announces Inaugural Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll

ROCK HILL, S.C. (TheSAC.com) - Limestone is slated to be the top team in the inaugural South Atlantic Conference Carolinas Field Hockey Preseason Coaches Poll, as voted upon by the league's six head coaches.

The Saints earned four first-place votes and 59 total points. They wrapped up the 2017 season with an impressive 15-4 overall record, going 9-1 in ECAC action and a perfect 7-0 record at home. The Saints home field advantage played into their favor with a regular season ECAC win over nationally ranked Lindenwood. Limestone ended their campaign as the runner-up of the ECAC Tournament in a rematch with Lindenwood.

The 2017 Saints garnered two All-Americans and six All-Conference selections, along with having the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, Co-Goalkeeper of the Year and Rookie of the Year. The team was ranked as high as No. 7 in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division II Poll and was named a Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Division II National Academic Team. The Saints finished ranked in the top-five nationally in assists per game (2.37), goals per game (4.00), points per game (10.37), scoring average (3.91), scoring margin (2.78), shot percentage (.202), shutouts per game (0.47) and winning percentage (.789).

Queens University of Charlotte captured the second-place slot with one first-place vote and 53 points in the poll. Finishing the season with a 6-11 record, the Royals won five out of seven home games at Bessant Field. This will be the first year of conference play for the Royals. This season the Royals will face multiple opponents that were ranked in the top-10 in the nation last season, including No. 6,and national quarterfinalists, Millersville, No. 8 Lindenwood, and No. 9 Bloomsburg.

Newberry followed closely behind in the No. 3 spot with 52 points and the last remaining first-place vote. The Wolves completed the 2017 season on a 6-14 overall record (3-7 ECAC). The Wolves were very efficient at home with a 5-3 record, the first home winning record in school history. Newberry hopes for that to continue, as their schedule is back-loaded with the final six regular season games taking place at Setzler Field.

Belmont Abbey snagged the No. 4 spot in the poll with 49 votes to their credit. The Crusaders finished the 2017 season with a record of 7-11 (2-8 ECAC). They had multiple ECAC All-Academic and Zag Field Hockey / NFHCA Division II National Academic team selections, while on the field the Crusaders return All-America Rookie Team and all-conference selection Angelina Perrone.

Converse earned the No. 5 spot with 44 points. In their inaugural season in 2017, the Valkyries went 5-11 in competition, with the five wins coming in their last six games. They will face multiple top-ranked opponents in 2018, including Millersville, Mercyhurst and Lindenwood.

Coker field hockey returns after a more than 40-year hiatus to round out the preseason poll in sixth with 43 total points. The revived team will be comprised of 14 freshmen, transfers, and internationals filling their roster. Coach Kat Heterbring brings with her four years of head coaching experience at the Division III level and was previously a successful assistant coach at Newberry.

The 2018 South Atlantic Conference Carolinas field hockey season will begin when Newberry travels to Belmont Abbey on Thursday, Aug. 30. Three of the remaining four teams will start up on Saturday, Sept. 1, while Coker faces Newberry on Sept. 5 to round out the openers.

The first champion in South Atlantic Conference Carolinas field hockey history will be crowned at the conference tournament, which will be held at the highest seed with artificial turf. The semifinals will be on Nov. 16, followed by the finals on Nov. 18.

2018 SOUTH ATLANTIC CONFERENCE CAROLINAS PRESEASON POLL

Rank

School

Total

1.

Limestone (4)

59

2.

Queens (1)

53

3.

Newberry (1)

52

4.

Belmont Abbey

49

5.

Converse

44

6.

Coker

43 


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