September 16, 2011

Lyndon teams fare well in NAC pre-season polls

LYNDON CENTER, Vt. - Lyndon fared well in a number of pre-season polls in the North Atlantic Conference especially in the sport of cross country running. The Hornet men's program has been picked to win their fourth-straight league title while the women were selected, along with Husson University, to vie for the NAC crown.

CROSS COUNTRY
Lyndon has been picked to win its fourth-straight North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Cross Country title in a preseason poll of the conference coaches. The Hornets, who have won the championship in each of their three seasons in the conference, received seven first place votes and 78 total points. Led by 2009 NAC Runner of the Year Josh Grant, Lyndon boasts five runners from last year's NAC All-Conference First Team.

New to the conference in 2011, New England College earned 60 points and two first-place votes in the poll. 2010 TCCC All-Conference runners Taylor Annett and Matt Meyers lead a young Pilgrim squad.

In women's cross country, Husson University and Lyndon have tied for the top spot in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Women's Cross Country Poll. Competing in just its second season, Husson has garnered the respect of the conference coaches, earning a conference-best four first place votes and 85 points. The Eagles return last year's NAC Runner of the Year in Angela Stauble as well as All-Conference Second Team runner Theresa Martin.

Lyndon also earned 85 points, with one first place vote, in the poll. The Hornets will look to 2010 NAC All-Conference First Team runner Allynne O'Hearn to lead a squad which includes all-conference runners Cassie Tricou and Leah Morgan.

The University of Maine at Farmington which boasts a pair of all-conference runners finished third with 78 points and three first place votes.
New to the conference in 2011, Colby-Sawyer College earned two first place votes and 74 total points to finish fourth in the poll.

SOCCER
Castleton State College has been chosen the preseason favorite to win the NAC men's soccer title in a vote conducted by the league's coaches. The Spartans, who return 6 starters from a team that went a perfect 7-0 in conference play, received five first place votes and 93 points. Led by a pair of 2010 all-conference selections in Trevor Kotrady and Nick Johnas, Castleton will look to fill the void left by the graduation of the 2010 Player and Defender of the Year.

Defending champion Thomas College received four first place votes and 86 points to place second in the poll. First-year Head Coach Chris Parsons will look to shape the team around first team all-conference goalie Mikkail Crockwell and second team all-conference defender Paul Rechichi.

Maine Maritime garnered the final first place vote and finished sixth in the poll with 52 points. The Mariners return 10 starters from a season ago, and boast four players chosen to at least one all-conference team, including three-time All-NAC selection Nate Tipton.

In women's soccer, Castleton State College has been chosen as the preseason favorite to defend its NAC Women's Soccer title in a unanimous vote of the conference coaches. The Spartans return nine starters from last year's championship squad which led the conference in goals scored and goals against. Three-time NAC Player of the Year Courtney Chadburn leads the Spartans who finished last season with a 6-0-1 mark in conference play.

Husson University winners of four-straight titles prior to last season, was picked to finish second. The Eagles return seven starters, including 2010 NAC Rookie of the Year and First Team All-Conference Rebecca Jones. Husson will look to 13 new freshmen to replace six key graduates from last season's team.
University of Maine-Farmington, was picked to finish third and returns four members of last year's all-conference squad led by first-team selection Kayla Tuttle.

WOMEN'S TENNIS
Castleton State College has been selected to win its third-straight North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) East Division Title in a poll of the conference coaches. Led by two-time NEAC East Player of the Year Michelle Podnecky, the Spartans received 23 points and three first place votes. Podnecky went 11-2 at first singles last season, and is joined by doubles partner and number-two singles player Kate Bucci who was also named to the NEAC East All-Conference First Team.

New to the conference in 2011 and finishing just behind Castleton in the poll is Colby-Sawyer. The Chargers received two first-place votes and tallied 20 points overall. Claire Toffey and Liz Lincoln each garnered all-conference honors a season ago in the Commonwealth Coast Conference and look to lead a young Charger squad.

During the 2009 season, North Atlantic Conference (NAC) members began play in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) as associate members in the East Division. Each division will hold a championship and the two divisional champions will meet for a three game series to determine the conference champion. The conference winner will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. Castleton has represented the NEAC in the NCAA National Tournament in each of the first two seasons of this alignment.

WOMEN"S VOLLEYBALL
Maine Maritime Academy has been chosen the preseason favorite to win its fifth-straight NAC women's volleyball title in a vote conducted by the league's coaches. The Mariners earned three first-place votes and return virtually everyone from last season's championship squad which went a perfect 6-0 in conference play and dropped just one set all season.

Leading the way for the Mariners will once again be two-time defending NAC Player of the Year Chelsea Ward. Alongside Ward will be 2010 NAC Defender of the Year Lauren Sakahara, as well as Rookie of the Year Melissa Lail.

Finishing second in the poll and new to the conference in 2011 was Colby-Sawyer College. The Chargers, who garnered the most first place votes in the poll with four, have gone a combined 23-4 against NAC schools, including a 3-0 record in 2010. Libero Allyson Le-Bruno returns for her sophomore season after earning Libero of the Year and First Team All-Conference accolades in The Commonwealth Coast Conference last season.

Husson University earned the final first place vote in the poll, finishing third. The Eagles return five starters from last season, including all-conference selections Aleta Johnson and Hanah Olstad.