The Central Connecticut women's lacrosse team was picked fourth in the annual preseason poll of the Northeast Conference's head coaches. Fourth place is the highest the NEC's coaches have ever tapped the Blue Devils in the preseason poll.
Defending NEC Champion Monmouth was selected first in the poll and collected eight first place votes. Quinnipiac, which shared the NEC regular season title last season, was tapped to finish second and garnered a pair of first place votes. Mount St. Mary's was the third team picked ahead of the Blue Devils.
Following Central, were Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Bryant. Wagner, Saint Francis U and LIU Brooklyn filled the bottom of the poll.
The 2013 CCSU squad will feature many of the key contributors to 2012's record setting season. The 2012 season saw the Blue Devils tie the school record for wins in a season with seven and set a new record for NEC victories with five. CCSU's fifth place finish in the NEC standings was also a high water mark for the program. Following the season, new head coach Kelly Nangle, was named NEC Coach of the Year, another first for CCSU lacrosse.
"I am very excited about the 2013 season and proud of the consistent hard work and effort that our student-athletes have been bringing every day," Nangle said on Wednesday. "Being selected fourth in the preseason poll is a sign of positive progress for this program, but our goal is to be among the top four teams at the end of the season and reach our first NEC Tournament."
Vendel enters 2013 second on CCSU's career points list with 167. Vendel has posted point totals over 50 in each of her first three seasons. McCurry is also high on the CCSU career points list. Her 132 points rank fourth all-time entering 2013. With 99 career goals, McCurry is likely to become the third player in CCSU history to reach 100 for her career.
Roche and Ward, along with junior Ashley Olhausen, will be expected to lead the defense for the second consecutive season. The trio accounted for 79 ground balls and 57 caused turnovers last season.
The Blue Devils open the season on February 22, at Lafayette. The home opener will be played at Arute Field on Feb. 27, against #18 Stony Brook. CCSU will play seven home games this season, including four NEC games.
2013 NEC WOMEN'S LACROSSE
1. Monmouth (8)
2. Quinnipiac (2)
3. Mount St. Mary's
4. Central Connecticut
5. Robert Morris
6. Sacred Heart
9. Saint Francis U
10. LIU Brooklyn