PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Eastern Connecticut State University has been named the preseason favorite after totaling 62 points and tallying six of none first-place votes in the 2018 Little East Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, released today.
The Warriors tied for first in the conference standings last season with an undefeated record of 6-0-1 (19 points), and finished the season at 9-8-3 overall following an overtime loss to No. 2 seed Western Connecticut State University in the tournament final. Top-seeded Eastern and Western played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw Oct. 7 in the regular season at Danbury.
WestConn was picked to finish second in the LEC after totaling 58 points and claiming two first-place votes. The Colonials also tied for first in last year's LEC regular season standings before claiming their third straight LEC tournament title. WestConn ranked as high as No. 22 in the national polls, and finished 2017 with an overall record of 17-2-2.
Keene State College was selected to place third by the conference coaches after totaling 50 points and one first-place vote, while league newcomer Castleton University was picked to finish fourth in its inaugural LEC season after tallying 41 points. Also picked to make the six-team LEC tournament field were UMass Boston (36 points) and Plymouth State University (28 points).
Eastern finished with at least a share of the LEC regular-season title last year for the eighth time in the last 15 seasons under head coach Chris D’Ambrosio (213-107-33 In 18 years). The Warriors have posted three straight unbeaten seasons in LEC regular-season play and are unbeaten (23-0-2) in their last 25 LEC regular-season contests over four years.
Eastern returns four of last year’s seven All-LEC selections in senior forward and leading scorer Aly Clarke (Mystic), senior goalkeeper Kayla Labrecque (Westhampton, MA), senior defender Hannah Goodale (Coventry) and junior midfielder Linnea Reich (Middletown).
Eastern opens the season Friday against Roger Williams University at the Springfield College Invitational at 4 p.m.
2018 LEC Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. EASTERN CONNECTICUT (6) 62
2. Western Connecticut (2) 58
3. Keene State (1) 50
4. Castleton 41
5. UMass Boston 36
6. Plymouth State U. 28
7. Rhode Island College 22
8. UMass Dartmouth 18
9. U. of Southern Maine 9