WINTHROP, Mass.—The Anna Maria College field hockey team has been selected fifth in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the league on Monday morning.
The AMCATS advanced to the GNAC semifinals last season on the strength of Goalkeeper of the Year Mary Kate Breen '16. The 2016 Anna Maria squad will look to overcome the loss of both Breen and all-time leading scorer Kylie Dalbec '16, but return a solid group of scorers under first year head coach Brooke Brigham.
Junior Nicole Denver (Springfield, Mass.) will spearhead the AMCAT offense after scoring a team-leading 16 goals as a sophomore. She will also be added by senior Kaitlyn Moran (Leicester, Mass.) who tallied 10 goals and 10 assists.
In the poll, Simmons took the top slot for the second-straight season. Simmons has captured both GNAC Championships in the sport of field hockey since the conference began sponsoring it in 2014-15, besting Saint Joseph's College of Maine in last year's final, 1-0, before falling to New Paltz St. in the NCAA Tournament. Saint Joseph's placed second in the preseason poll with 39 points.
Johnson & Wales University took the third spot with 32 points, narrowly ahead of Lasell College's 29 points and Anna Maria College's 27 points, while Mount Ida College and Rivier University made up the remainder of the poll with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The 2016 campaign gets underway this Thursday, as Mount Ida, Lasell, Anna Maria and defending GNAC champion Simmons will all be in action. The AMCATS travel to Clark University for a 5:00 p.m. tilt.
2016 GNAC Field Hockey Preseason Poll
1. Simmons (7) – 49
2. Saint Joseph's of Maine – 39
3. Johnson & Wales – 32
4. Lasell – 29
5. Anna Maria - 27
6. Mount Ida – 11
7. Rivier - 10