Maroons Picked Sixth In 2014 ODAC Field Hockey Preseason Poll

Maroons Picked Sixth In 2014 ODAC Field Hockey Preseason Poll
FOREST, Va. --- Lynchburg College collected eight first place votes and 64 total points to lead the 2014 ODAC Field Hockey preseason poll. Randolph-Macon College picked up 55 tallies, including the remaining top consideration. Bridgewater College edged out Shenandoah University by one point with 45 markers to take the third position.

The 2013 campaign saw Lynchburg win its eighth straight and ODAC-record 17th overall field hockey crown with a 2-0 triumph over Randolph-Macon in the ODAC Tournament championship game. The two teams have faced each other in the final for the past four seasons. The Hornets' postseason continued as they hosted Centre College for a first round game in the NCAA Division III Field Hockey tournament, but LC was knocked out early after CC defeated the Hornets, 1-0.

Lynchburg (16-5 overall, 8-0 ODAC) returns three of seven all conference players from a season ago. Courtney Gillette will lead the Hornets' defensive unit after registering four goals and one assist en route to earning All-ODAC Second Team accolades in 2013. All-ODAC Third Team attackers Katie Kline (11 g, 9 ast) and Kelsey Link (12 g, 1 ast) are also back to lead a potent LC offense. Other returning teammates up top include Morgan Lammando (8 g, 7 ast) and Catherine Rogerson (5 g, 4 ast). Midfielder Abby Bunting (5 g, 1 ast) will also add a spark at both ends of the field.

Randolph-Macon (11-10, 6-2) welcomes back all but one of its four all-conference players from the 2013 campaign. The Yellow Jackets will be led by an experienced senior class including midfielder Carrie Jacobs (12 g, 7 ast), who garnered All-ODAC First Team honors last season. The two other seniors who received all-conference recognition include second team attack Rachel Gardner (5 g, 5 ast) and third team midfielder Olivia Newman (3 g, 12 ds). Midfielder Catherine Pricone (16 g, 1 ast) was the Yellow Jackets' leading scorer last year and looks to continue adding marks in the goals category.

Bridgewater (12-7, 5-3) enjoys the return of three all-league players, one from each team. Senior midfielder Caroline Augsburger (8 g, 7 ast) collected first team accolades last year after leading the Eagles with 23 points. Attack Taylor Prillaman (9 g, 4 ast) led BC in goals and earned second team honors, while midfielder Rachael Loy picked up third team recognition after recording seven goals and two assists. Caroline Fletcher (1 g, 1 ast) and Kaitlyn Harris return to anchor the Eagles' defense.

Shenandoah (10-10, 6-2) and reigning ODAC Coach of the Year Ashley Smeltzer-Kraft return a wealth of talent including the 2013 ODAC Player of the Year, attack Ashley Cross. Cross led the league in points (34) and tied for first in goals in the conference with 16 tallies. Joining Cross on the first team was midfielder Presha Merritt (2 g, 6 ast). Attack Kelani Bailey posted nine goals and dished out three assists to earn second team honors, while defender Sarah Brock (5 g, 4 ast) led SU's backline and collected third team accolades. Alana Meadows (1 ast, 6 ds) joins Brock in the back to help spearhead the Hornets' defense.

Eastern Mennonite University (4-15, 4-4) will open the season with a well-oiled machine, including all three all-ODAC players returning from a season ago. Seniors Mandy Stowers (1 g, 10 defensive saves) and Bethany Hench (2 ds) return to the defense after earning first and second team accolades, respectively. Attack Jenessa Derstine (7 g, 4 ast) led the Royals last season with 18.

Roanoke College (3-13, 2-6) welcomes back two of its three all-conference honorees from the 2013 campaign. Stacy Bechtel (1 ds) earned second team honors for her efforts as a Maroons' defender, while midfielder Shelbi Holloman (5 g, 2 ast) was tabbed to the third team in her rookie campaign. Goalkeeper Candice Fisher (123 sv, 2.95 gaa) returns to direct RC's defensive unit, while attack Kellie Jasinski (6 g, 2 ast) is back after leading Roanoke in points (14) and goals (6) as a freshman.

Virginia Wesleyan College (7-8, 2-6) enters its second season under the direction of head coach Christina Restivo. Restivo returns one all-conference honoree in goalkeeper Lindsay Baker (70 sv, 1.99 gaa), who collected third team accolades. The Marlins' top three scorers are gone due to graduation, but they will turn to players such as midfielders Skyler Weaver (3 g, 1 ast) and Danielle Pellerin (1 g, 2 ast), as well as attack Asiah Allen (1 g, 1 ast) to spearhead VWC's scoring efforts this season.

Washington and Lee University (5-15, 3-5) features reigning ODAC Rookie of the Year, defender Noelani Schulmeyer (3 g, 1 ast, 8 ds), in Lexington this fall. The Generals will turn to attackers Charlotte MacDonald (4 g, 3 ast) and Candice Stefanic (4 g, 1 ast) to produce on the other end of the field, while midfielder Lindsey Purpura (3 g, 2 ast) will put in work at both ends of the playing surface.

Sweet Briar College (1-13, 0-8) will have a new look this year as first year head coach Hannah Lott takes over the reins. Lott welcomes back defender Eve Mergenthaler, who led the league with 13 defensive saves. The Vixens will also look to midfielder Allison McLamb (2 g) and attack Hannah Oybkhan (2 g) to guide the offense this season.

The 2014 season begins on August 29 with non-conference competition. For more information, visit any of the participating schools' websites or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter.

(#) Denotes first place votes
1. Lynchburg (8)64 pts.
2. Randolph-Macon (1)55 pts.
3. Bridgewater45 pts.
4. Shenandoah44 pts.
5. Eastern Mennonite33 pts.
6. Roanoke25 pts.
6. Virginia Wesleyan25 pts.
6. Washington and Lee25 pts.
9. Sweet Briar8 pts.