TOWSON, Md. --- Four-time conference champion Catholic University collected six first place votes and 68 total points to lead the Landmark Field Hockey Preseason Poll. Elizabethtown sits second after earning one top nod and 52 tallies. Juniata was picked third with 46 points, and Scranton fourth with 37 points, and the last first place vote.
Over the last nine years, the Landmark has had just two schools claim the conference crown. Juniata has won five of the nine championships, while Catholic earned the other four.
The Cardinals will begin a new era as former CUA assistant coach Heidi Lewis takes the reigns of the program. Catholic returns All-Landmark Fist Team selection, and a First Team All-Region selection Analisa Scott in goal, and Landmark Rookie of the Year Lane Adams. All-Conference performers Rachel Day and Marisa Martinelli also return to the experienced Cardinal roster.
Elizabethtown returns 14 players from its Landmark runner-up finish a year ago as they chase their first conference title. The Blue Jays should be strong defensively and in the midfield, where they suffered no losses. Goalie Margo Donlin also returns after going 10-6 with a 2.04 GAA and 72 saves as a freshman. The challenge for E-town in 2016 will be to replace more than 50 percent of its goals from last fall after losing Alyssa Aichele (19g) and Jacki Hikes (13) to graduation.
With the loss of Landmark Offensive Player of the Year Sarah Bilheimer, and All-Conference First Team selections Alli Groft and Kelsey Leibelsperger, the Eagles will rely heavily on its four returning starters to lead Juniata back to the postseason.
Scranton looks to replace a successful, but departing senior class in 2016, as the Royals look to qualify for the Landmark Conference Tournament for the sixth straight season. Top returning scorers include senior Elizabeth Yorey and junior Ryan Jones, while in between the pipes, junior Christina Black returns after starting all 18 matches in the spot last year.
The 2016 season begins with non-conference play on Thursday, September 1. The first Landmark matchup is slated for Saturday, September 24.
|2016 Landmark Women's Field Hockey Preseason Poll|
||Points (First-Place Votes)|