Hempstead, N.Y. – The Hofstra Women’s Soccer program was picked first in the Colonial Athletic Association’s preseason poll, according to a vote of the league's head coaches released today.
Hofstra earned the top spot for a second consecutive season, earning 74 points and three first-place votes. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
The Pride, under head coach Simon Riddiough, received the second-most votes for the top spot. James Madison was tabbed second with 71 points and compiled four first-place votes. William & Mary took the third spot with two first-place votes and 70 total points while defending CAA-champion Northeastern garnered the fourth spot with one first-place vote and 57 total points. UNCW, Delaware, Drexel, first-year member Elon, Towson and the College of Charleston rounded out the 10-school field. Teams received nine points for a first-place vote, eight for second place, seven for third place and one fewer point for each descending place.
The Pride will be returning seven starters and 15 letter-winners from a squad that went 10-6-3 and advanced to the semifinal round of the CAA Tournament. In all, 12 players who were on the roster for the 2012 conference championship squad are back for 2014.
Senior forward Sam Scolarici is back after setting her school’s single-season record for goals with 18 and points with 38. Hofstra also returns junior forward Leah Galton, who is the reigning CAA Player of the Year after scoring eight goals with 11 assists for 27 points last season.
At midfield, redshirt sophomore Jill Mulholland is back from injury to fortify as unit that saw breakout performances from junior Jeannine Molleda. Junior Chloe Dale and sophomore Emily Agudelo are also back.
Defensively, senior Caylin Dudley and junior Mallory Ullrich are the projected starters on a defense that surrendered just 30 goals in 19 games. Sophomore goalkeeper Friederike Mehring will look to go into the season as the starting goalkeeper after taking over that spot with a late-season injury to incumbent starter Emily Morphitis, who graduated.
The CAA has had five different schools capture the league’s championship over the past five seasons. The conference has placed multiple teams in the NCAA Tournament field in 15 of the past 21 seasons.
Hofstra will start the 2014 season on Fri., Aug. 22 at UConn with a 7 p.m. kickoff.