EDISON, New Jersey – The Quinnipiac University women's soccer team was tabbed ninth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the league office on Wednesday, August 12, 2015. The Bobcats return 13 student-athletes from last year's squad, each with the same goal in mind of winning the 2015 MAAC Championship.
Monmouth, who finished the 2014 season with a 14-5 overall record and claimed the MAAC Regular Season Title, earned the top slot in the poll with 117 points. Fairfield, the back-to-back MAAC runner-up, finished second with 105 points while defending MAAC Champion Rider finished behind the Stags with 103 points. Niagara (78) and Siena (71) snatched fourth and third, respectively. Manhattan (54), Iona (52) and Canisius (49) slotted in just ahead of the Bobcats (44) while Marist (37) and Saint Peter's (16) rounded out the census.
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The MAAC also released its Preseason All-Conference Team, headlined by six Rider players making the list including the Preseason Player of the Year Tara Ballay, as voted upon by the league's 11 head coaches.
In its second season in the MAAC, Quinnipiac posted a 2-7-1 record in conference play. The Bobcats picked up two MAAC home victories in 2014 with a 3-0 shutout of Saint Peter's to go along with a 2-1 double overtime win over Marist. Jessica Fontaine (Enfield, Connecticut) was the lone Bobcat to receive an All-MAAC honor as she was voted to the Second Team in her sophomore season.
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Quinnipiac, who has advanced to postseason play in four of the last seven seasons, will rely on its defense in 2015. The Bobcats return the majority of their backline, including senior goalkeeper Natalia Grodzki (Bartlett, Illinois). Grodzki ranked sixth among netminders in the MAAC averaging five saves per game in MAAC-only contests. For the 2014 campaign, Grodzki turned away 73.4 percent of the total shots faced and finished with a 1.62 goals against average.
The Bobcats also return Joanna Proctor (Frimley, England) and Laura Nicholas (Derry City, Northern Ireland) to their defensive unit. Proctor and Nicholas have each started 30 games in their first two seasons with the Bobcats.
Anchoring Quinnipiac's midfield will be Fontaine, who appeared in 16 games while leading the team in points (seven) and tied for the team-lead with three goals. Fontaine is now a two-time All-MAAC honoree after making the All-Rookie Team as a freshman in 2013. Also joining Fontaine in the midfield ranks will be senior Amanda Barroca (Bellmore, New York) and junior Kelly Caruso (Rocky Hill, Connecticut). Barroca broke out with a career-year in which she tied Fontaine for the team-lead with three goals while Caruso did much of the same with her team-leading four assists to go along with one goal in 2014.
On the attack, junior Jessica Jankowski (Berkeley Heights, New Jersey) tallied her first career goal and assist while appearing in 13 games (all of the bench) last season. Sophomore Jillian Consolini (Suffield, Connecticut) also gained valuable experience with 14 appearances (10 stats) at the forward spot in her freshman campaign.
Looking to make an impact up top, senior Nicole Eriksen (Stamford, Connecticut) returns to the lineup in 2014 after notching her first career marker last season, the game-winning tally against Marist. Two more seniors in Carly Glaser (New City, New York) and Ashley Wendland (Hamden, Connecticut) look to continue their development after earning their first bouts of extended playing time last season.
Quinnipiac's quest begins on Monday, August 25 with its home and season opener against Holy Cross. Kickoff is set for 3:00 PM from the QU Soccer Field in Hamden.