Westfield, Mass.— Two-time defending Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament Champion Westfield State was picked to retain its title in 2019 as voted on by the league's head coaches.
The Owls earned seven of a possible eight first place votes in the poll, amassing a total of 49 points. Westfield was perfect in conference play last year going 7-0 in league contests. Returning for the Owls is reigning MASCAC Player of the Year Maria Woodall. The senior goalie was stellar in net for the defending champions posting 9.06 goals-against average and a 53.5 save percentage, both of which led the conference. She earned 18 wins in 2018.
Last year's MASCAC Tournament runner-up, Framingham State, ranks second in this year's poll with 42 points and the remaining first place vote. The Rams were the second seed in last year's tournament with a league record of 6-1. Leading the way for the Rams will be All-Conference First Teamer Grace Gamache. Gamache was the league's top scorer last year with 111 points, including a MASCAC leading 56 assists. Her 55 goals were second in the conference. Gamache also was the leader in draw controls with 114.
Sitting in third in preseason rankings is Bridgewater State, which earned 37 points in the year's balloting. The Bears went 5-2 in conference play last year, led by 2018 goal champion Elizabeth Ettridge. Ettridge scored 67 goals last year and peppered opponents with a league-best 121 shot, 99 one which were on target.
Worcester State is fourth in the poll with 31 points. The Lancers went 4-3 in conference last year, but lose their two All-Conference First Teamers to graduation. However, All-Conference Second Team honoree Lauren Arbec is back for her sophomore season. A defensive standout, Arbec was second in the conference in caused turnovers (37) and ninth in ground balls (46).
Fitchburg State and Massachusetts Maritime fill the fifth and sixth spots in the poll with 24 and 18 points, respectively. The Falcons will rely on Tracy Long as one of its scoring threats after she potted 32 goals and handed out 17 assists last year. 2018 MASCAC Rookie of the Year Casey Sullivan is back for the Buccaneers after scoring 50 goals a year ago.
Salem State and MCLA close out the poll in that order as they garnered 16 and 7 points, respectively. The Vikings retain the services of All-Conference Second Teamer Paige Giuliano who scored 16 goals, 14 assist, and 30 points last season. The Trailblazers' top returner is Kim Granito who scored 11 goals last year.
The MASCAC women's lacrosse season begins on Tuesday, February 26 with a non-conference play throughout the week.
2019 MASCAC Women's Lacrosse Pre-Season Coaches Poll
(First Place Votes In Parentheses)
|1.||Westfield State||(7)||49 points|
|2.||Framingham State||(1)||42 points|
|3.||Bridgewater State||37 points|
|4.||Worcester State||31 points|
|5.||Fitchburg State||24 points|
|6.||Mass. Maritime||18 points|
|7.||Salem State||16 points|
The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, the nation's first Division III men's and women's playing conference, has a rich and storied tradition of competitive success while celebrating excellence in the classroom. MASCAC core member schools include Bridgewater State University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, MCLA, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Salem State University, Westfield State University and Worcester State University. Two other institutions, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Plymouth State University, are affiliate members of the conference in the sports of football and men's ice hockey, while Western Connecticut State University joined the conference as an affiliate member in football beginning in 2014.