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Courtesy: CAA
Old Dominion's Maartje van Rijswijk

OLD DOMINION FAVORED TO DEFEND AS CAA FIELD HOCKEY CHAMPIONS IN 2011

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 08/15/2011
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RICHMOND, Va. (August  15, 2011) -- Defending conference champion Old Dominion has been selected as the favorite to win the CAA field hockey crown in 2011 according to a vote by the league's head coaches.

The Lady Monarchs received eight first-place votes and 64 total points to take the top spot in the poll. Drexel, which finished atop the CAA regular-season standings in 2010, received the other first place vote and placed second with 50 points. James Madison was picked third with 47 points, just edging out Northeastern, which took fourth place with 45 points. Delaware claimed the fifth spot with 33 total points, followed by VCU (31), William & Mary (25), Hofstra (20) and Towson (9).

Old Dominion will look to build from last season's 13-11 squad that advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Field Hockey Championship after upsetting No. 8 Michigan. The Lady Monarchs will be led by junior forward Maartje van Rijswijk, who earned first-team All-CAA honors after scoring 16 goals last season, which ranked third in the conference. Also back is senior forward Kathryn Kirk, a second-team All-CAA selection from 2010, who had four goals and five assists. Senior goalkeeper Devon Seifert returns after leading the conference with seven shutouts and posting a 1.64 goals against average.

Drexel has six returning starters from last year's 15-5 team that fell to ODU in double overtime in the 2010 CAA Championship game. Junior midfielder Amanda Fleischut will lead the charge for the Dragons, after recording five goals and seven assists last season. Also returning are a pair of CAA All-Rookie Team honorees in Kristen Focht and Lindsay McArdle.

With five returning starters James Madison is looking to improve on its 9-10 record from last season. Leading the group of returnees are senior Lindsay Cutchins and junior Auburn Weisensale. Cutchins was third in the CAA with 12 assists last season and recorded six goals. Weisensale had five goals and five assists in 2010.

Northeastern returns a trio of first-team All-CAA selections from last year's 10-11 squad. Junior forward Crystal Poland led the Huskies in 2010 with 11 goals and added six assists. Senior midfielder Kaela Barker topped the team with seven assists and chipped in five goals. Junior goalkeeper Lizzie Priest averaged 5.1 saves per game and recorded four shutouts last season.

The CAA had three teams - Old Dominion, Drexel and VCU - rank within the NCAA Top 25 in RPI in 2010. The conference has also placed multiple teams in the 16-team NCAA Tournament in two of the past four seasons.

2011 CAA FIELD HOCKEY PRESEASON COACHES POLL

1. Old Dominion (8 first-place votes) 64

2. Drexel (1 first-place vote) 50              

3. James Madison 47                                              

4. Northeastern 45                                     

5. Delaware 33

6. VCU 31

7. William & Mary 25

8. Hofstra 20

9. Towson 9

(Teams received 8 points for a first-place vote, 7 for second, etc. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.)
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