Women's Soccer Chosen First in Preseason Northeast Conference Coaches' Poll

Women's Soccer Chosen First in Preseason Northeast Conference Coaches' Poll

Central Connecticut State University has been voted the 2009 Northeast Conference women's soccer favorite, according to a preseason poll of the league's head coaches. Receiving eight of the 11 possible first-place votes, the Blue Devils will look to capture their second straight title and sixth in eight years. They have won a total of seven NEC titles since 1997. Central opens its 2009 season next Friday vs. Siena at the University of Vermont at 1 p.m.

Long Island, the 2008 NEC regular season champion, landed the runner-up spot and received two first-place nods. The Blue Devils defeated the Blackbirds 1-0 in the NEC final last season.

Monmouth was picked third and claimed the final first-place vote. Saint Francis (PA) was tabbed fourth, followed by Quinnipiac, Fairleigh Dickinson and Robert Morris at fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. Tied for eighth place was Bryant, a newcomer in the standings this season, and Sacred Heart. Wagner followed in the tenth position and Mount St. Mary's rounded out the list at No. 11.

Central (12-7-4, 7-2 NEC) captured its seventh championship crown last season. Head coach Mick D'Arcy will enter his 10th season at the helm of a Blue Devil squad that loses only four letterwinners and adds seven new contributors. Leading goal scorer Rachel Caneen is gone from the championship squad, but CCSU returns 11 of its top 13 goal scorers from a year ago to bolster their chances.

NEC Tournament most valuable player Erin Herd, a goalkeeper, is also gone from last year's squad. Senior Caity Casey steps in for CCSU, having started eight of her nine games played last season. She posted a 1.29 goals against average and a .780 save percentage in her junior season. She was 4-4 and played just under 770 minutes on the season.

The Blue Devils finished last season a perfect 5-0 at home and were also 2-0-1 in neutral site games. Following a trip to Vermont to open the season with games against Siena and Vermont, the Blue Devils will open their home season on Friday, Sept. 4 at 1 p.m. vs. Buffalo.