The Kenyon College Ladies narrowly edged the DePauw University Tigers for the top spot in the 2016 NCAC Preseason Field Hockey Poll based on balloting by the league coaches.
Kenyon, which has won the last two NCAC Field Hockey titles, collected five first-place votes and 54 total points in the poll, while DPU finished second in the poll after earning two first-place votes and 53 total points. Denison checked in at third with 49 points, followed by Wittenberg (40), Ohio Wesleyan (28), Wooster (27), Oberlin (19) and Earlham (18). Wooster did collect the final first-place vote.
The Kenyon Ladies, who will be under the leadership of head coach Jacque DeMarco for the fifth year in a row, are seeking to become the first NCAC team to win three-straight outright NCAC field hockey titles since OWU strung together seven-straight from 1987-1993. In four years at the helm, DeMarco owns an overall record of 59-23, which includes a mark of 43-13 in regular season conference games. Although the Ladies must replace their top goal scorer from a year ago, they do have a strong crop of returners, which includes four juniors that were named to the All-NCAC first team last fall. Offensively, Shannon Hart (Mandara, Harare, Zimbabwe/Hellenic Acad.) is the top returning scorer from a year ago with 24 points on 11 goals and two assists, while midfielder Weezie Foster (Reisterstown, MD/Friends School) was also a top-team performer after scoring six goals and handing out one assist in 20 games. On the defensive side of the ball, goalie Sarah Speroff (Euclid, OH/Hawken) and defender Kelsey Trulik (Ann Arbor, MI/Huron) once again return after they paced a unit that allowed just 12 goals and finished the campaign with a league-leading 13 shutouts. Speroff also finished the season with 76 saves and the top goals-against-average in the league at 0.59.
The 2016 NCAC field hockey season kicks off with non-conference games on Thursday, September 1st, while the first league games of the season are scheduled for Wednesday, September 7th. The 2016 NCAC Field Hockey Tournament will be held in early November with semifinal games on Wednesday the 2nd and the championship game on Saturday the 5th.
Founded in 1983, the North Coast Athletic Conference is made up of ten academically selective colleges and universities - Allegheny College, DePauw University, Denison 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.
2016 North Coast Athletic Conference Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll