South Easton, Mass. – The Merrimack women's lacrosse team has been picked to finish fourth in the Northeast-10 Coaches Preseason Poll released on Thursday. The Warriors received one first place vote and 111 total points, just eight points behind the third place Stonehill Skyhawks.
Adelphi and Le Moyne tied for the top spot in the poll with Adelphi receiving seven first place votes and Le Moyne receiving five. The Warriors were the only other team to receive a first place vote. The Warriors received a first place vote for the first time in team history.
The Warriors finished the 2011 season with a 12-7 overall record and an 8-4 conference record. The Warriors reached the Northeast-10 semifinals for the third consecutive season in 2011, but they were defeated by the three-time defending national champions, the Adelphi Panthers by the score of 24-10.
Merrimack returns most of their roster to a team that won a school record of 12 games last season under the tutelage of head coach Corinne Baker. The Warriors return their leading scorer and three all-conference members from last year's semifinal squad.
Senior captain Colleen Strachan (Bedford, Mass.) was the team's leading scorer last season, racking up 71 points on 50 goals and a team-high 21 assists. Fellow senior Mary Pasquantonio (Plainville, Mass.) returns after being named second-team all-region by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association. Pasquantonio led the team in goals last season, tallying 52 goals and 68 points as a junior.
Joining Pasquantonio on the All-conference teams were freshman Inna Hedden (Woodbine, MD) and Olivia Huie (Norwell, Mass.), who were both named to the All-rookie team. Hedden had a great rookie campaign for the Warriors recording the most wins in school history with 12 and ranked third all-time in saves made in a season with 172 saves. Huie started all 19 games for the Warriors recording 10 points and 48 draw controls, good for third on the team.
Merrimack will be looking for contributions from their five freshmen this season including Giulia Palombo (Sandwich, Mass.) and Olivia Coakley (Bridgewater, Mass.). Junior transfer Sam Kiesel (Andover, Mass.) is expected to see some action in the cage for the Warriors as well.
The Warriors will open up their 2012 schedule with a three game home stand starting on March 10 against Saint Anselm at 1 pm.