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WOMEN'S LACROSSE SELECTED TO FINISH THIRD IN AMERICA EAST PRESEASON POLL
The UMBC women's lacrosse team was picked to finish third in the 2004 America East Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll released on Wednesday, Feb. 18. The Retrievers, entering their first year in the new league, was 10-9 overall last season and won the Northeast Conference Championship for the fifth time in six years. The Retrievers open their season at home on Friday afternoon when they host Duke at UMBC Stadium at 1 p.m.
Coach Monica Yeakel lost only three players to graduation and returns a solid nucleus on defense in front of two rookie goalkeepers. Junior Stephanie Crouch, the 2002 Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year, leads the midfielders. Senior Jen Dragoni, the 2003 Northeast Conference Player of the Year, returns at attack after scoring 37 goals and adding 24 assists in 19 games. Sophomore Kelly Fiorani (37 goals, 10 assists in 19 games) and junior Lauren Hess (33 goals, eight assists in 19 games) also return.
Defending America East Champion Boston University has been chosen to repeat as conference champion according to the coaches' poll. The Terriers received all seven first-place votes and 49 points overall.
University of New Hampshire was chosen second with 40 points, followed by the Retrievers with 35 points. University of Vermont (23), University at Albany (22), Stony Brook University (19) and Binghamton University (8) rounded out the poll.
The top four teams in the conference will advance to the America East Championship with the winner of the tournament receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship.