The Merrimack College women’s lacrosse team has been picked to finish 11th in the 2016 Northeast-10 Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, as announced by the league this morning.
Those predictions would mean that the Warriors would continue to improve on their position in the league standings from a season ago. Merrimack enters the 2016 campaign under the guidance of first-year head coach Paula Habel, who will lead a young squad that features only seven upperclassmen among its ranks. But an infusion of 12 newcomers – all freshmen – promise to deliver new blood and energy to the program.
Adelphi, the two-time defending national champion who has won five out of the last six conference titles, is the deserved preseason favorite after going 21-1 (12-1 NE-10) last year. The Panthers were the near-unanimous favorite, earning 12-of-14 first-place votes and finishing with 168 points overall.
Behind them and slotted in second place was Le Moyne, who garnered the remaining two first-place votes and 145 points overall for the No. 2 spot in the poll. Rounding out spots 3-5 were New Haven (142), Stonehill (136) and Bentley (115). The next three positions, which would round out the predicted eight-team NE-10 Championship field, were Saint Anselm (99), Assumption (92) and Southern New Hampshire (84).
Saint Michael’s was affixed in ninth place with 71 points, while Pace – who started a varsity program only last season – was picked 10th with 55 points. Merrimack and Franklin Pierce each occupied the 11th-place spot with 50 points, while Southern Connecticut (32) and American Int’l (24) rounded out the 14-team field.
The Navy and Gold are set to begin the 2016 season on Sunday, Feb. 28 at home against Roberts Wesleyan out of the East Coast Conference (ECC). First whistle from Martone-Mejail Field is set for 12 p.m.