DPU Field Hockey Is Preseason Favorite

DPU Field Hockey Is Preseason Favorite

2014 NCAC Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll

DePauw has emerged as the preseason favorite based on balloting by six of the eight league coaches as NCAC field hockey squads prepare for the 2014 season.

The Tigers, who earned their third-straight NCAC championship in 2013 with an 13-1 mark against conference foes and an overall record of 17-5, collected four of the possible six first-place votes cast from league coaches to total 46 points. Kenyon, which fell to DePauw in last season’s NCAC tournament championship game after advancing to the finals for the first time since 2008, earned the final two first-place votes and finished second in the poll with 39 points. Denison rounded out the top-three by finishing one point behind the Ladies with 38 total points. Wittenberg was predicted to finish fourth with 27 points and Ohio Wesleyan checked in at fifth with 23 points. Wooster earned the sixth position with 22 points, followed by Oberlin in seventh (14) and Earlham in eighth (7).

DePauw will again enter competition this fall under the direction of head coach Gina Wills. In seven seasons at the helm of the Tigers field hockey program, Wills has posted a record of 105-37 (.793), including a 54-10 mark over the last three years. Wills has led DePauw to three NCAC championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the national semifinals in 2012.

The Tigers return three of their top five scorers from a year ago and 138 of the teams 192 total points, led by senior Paige Henry (Louisville, KY/Kentucky Country Day). Henry, a three time All-Conference performer, finished her junior year with 20 goals and three assists for 43 total points to lead the Tigers. Defensively, senior Maggie Steele (Loveland, OH/Mt. Notre Dame) returns in the cage after posting an impressive 0.90 goals against average, collecting 46 saves and totaling a league-high 10 shutouts.

Founded in 1983, the North Coast Athletic Conference is made up of ten academically selective colleges and universities - Allegheny College, Denison University, DePauw University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, Wittenberg University and the College of Wooster, along with affiliate member, Earlham College (field hockey). The NCAC sponsors 23 championship sports, 11 for men and 12 for women.

2014 North Coast Athletic Conference Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses, followed by total points)

1. DePauw (4)
Kenyon (2)
Denison 38
Ohio Wesleyan