The Central Connecticut women's soccer team has been tabbed to finish third in the Northeast Conference by the 2014 NEC Preseason Coaches Poll, the league announced Monday. CCSU earned three first place votes, but follows Saint Francis U and LIU Brooklyn on the list.
The third-place preseason ranking is up a spot from last season's fourth-place vote preceding a tie for second-place finish overall and a return to post-season play. The Blue Devils finished NEC play with a 5-3-0 conference record and a 7-12-0 overall record. CCSU eventually fell to conference champions, Saint Francis U in the NEC Semifinal game 3-1.
Saint Francis U was selected to finish first and earned three first place votes followed by LIU Brooklyn who received two first place votes. Immediately after the Blue Devils was Fairleigh Dickinson in fourth with one first place vote and then Wagner and Sacred Heart in fifth and sixth. Rounding out the last three spots on the NEC poll in order were Bryant, Robert Morris, and Mount St. Mary's.
The Blue Devils return senior forwards Tori Sousa and Julie Lavoie, who helped lead the Central attack a year ago. Sousa, an All-NEC first teamer last season, finished with two goals and four total points, while Lavoie tallied a team leading three goals, two of which were game winners for the Blue Devils.
CCSU also returns sophomore Morgan Santoro who was named to the NEC All-Rookie Team a year ago. Santoro finished her freshman season with two goals and two assists.
The Blue Devils will kick off the 2014 season on August 22 in Vermont at the TD Bank Classic, where they will play the host Catamounts on Friday at 4 p.m. and the University of New Hampshire on August 24 at 11 a.m. Central will host its first home match on Thursday, August 28 in a 7 p.m. contest against the University of Hartford on the CCSU Soccer Field.