Lynchburg Tops ODAC Field Hockey Poll

Lynchburg Tops ODAC Field Hockey Poll

Randolph-Macon Edges Washington and Lee for Second Position

FOREST, Va. --- Lynchburg College received eight first place votes on the way to 64 poll points and the top position in the 2011 ODAC Field Hockey Preseason Poll.  Randolph-Macon College secured second place with 53 tallies, two points clear of Washington and Lee University.  The Generals earned the remaining top nod amongst their 51 points.

The 2011 field hockey season marks the first inclusion of Shenandoah University as a competing ODAC program.  The Hornets are slated to become a full-time member of the ODAC in all sponsored sports for the 2012-13 academic year, but join the league’s ranks in field hockey and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track for 2011-12.

Lynchburg (17-4 overall, 7-0 ODAC in 2010), which finished the 2010 campaign ranked 11th in the country, has played in the NCAA Division III Tournament each of the past six years.  In 2011, LC reached the second round of competition for the fourth consecutive season before seeing its campaign come to a close.  The Hornets topped 10th-ranked Christopher Newport University, 1-0, before falling to #1 Messiah College, 7-0.

Looking to make a run at a sixth straight ODAC crown, 13th-ranked Lynchburg (according to the Kookaburra/NFHCA NCAA Division III Preseason Poll) welcomes back five of its seven all-conference performers, including a pair of All-ODAC First Team choices in midfielders Shelly Milks (10 goals, 9 assists) and Amanda Wain (3g, 5a).  Milks, the reigning ODAC Player of the Year, and Wain helped jumpstart the league’s top offense to an ODAC-best 80 goals scored.  All-ODAC Second Team goalkeeper Tiffany Frye (0.98 goals-against-average, 103 saves) is back for another go-round, as are All-ODAC Honorable Mention choices in attack Lindsay Leonard (16g, 10a) and midfielder Kristina Morris (4g, 6a).

Randolph-Macon’s (13-7, 6-1) appearance in the 2010 ODAC title game was its first field hockey championship game experience since 1998.  While the Yellow Jackets graduated four of their five all-conference selections from a season ago, they do welcome back two of the top four scorers from an offense that ranked second in the league with 55 goals scored.  All-ODAC Honorable Mention attack Lauren Seal (13g, 7a) will be joined up front by fellow attack Mikalea Rumley (10g, 4a).  Goalkeeper Nicole Woodworth (2.32gaa, 191sv) is back between the pipes to lead the defense. 

Washington and Lee (9-8, 5-2) looks to qualify for its first ODAC title game since 2005, which also marked the Generals’ lone conference crown.  Missing from last season’s squad is three of the team’s top four scorers.  Midfielder Chelsea Stevenson (6g, 3a) is the top returning attacking threat, along with midfielder Christina Benedetti (2g, 5a).  All-ODAC Honorable Mention defender Riley Hampsch (2 defensive saves) is set to lead the back line.

Eastern Mennonite (10-9, 4-3) features the return of a pair of key cogs in second leading scorer, midfielder Adriana Santiago (10g, 7a), and 2009 All-ODAC Second Team midfielder Valerie Landis (5g, 3a in 2009), who missed all of the 2010 campaign.  Jenna Longenecker (4g, 1a in 2009), who also returns from a year away, and Nicole Bencsik (6g, 3a) add depth to EMU’s scoring.  All hope to lead the Royals back to the ODAC championship game, a contest EMU played in for four consecutive seasons from 2006-09.

Bridgewater (9-9, 3-4) returns all but two of its five all-conference performers from a season ago, including All-ODAC First Team goalkeeper Taylor Waddell (1.98gaa, 106sv).  She’s joined by a pair of All-ODAC Second Team defenders in Jennifer Bateman (4g, 2a, 3 def. saves) and Joan Burleson (2g, 4a, 7 def. saves), forming a strong defensive nucleus that aided in allowing just 36 goals against in 2010, second in the ODAC.

Roanoke (2-13, 1-6) enjoys the return of its all-conference selection from 2010 in All-ODAC Second Team midfielder Lee Sheldon (1g, 3a, 8 def. saves).  Goalkeeper Cristina Scichilone (5.08gaa, 152sv) returns to her familiar post, and leading score Lianna Hachborn (5g) is back in Salem for a second year.

All four all-conference honorees return to the Virginia Wesleyan (2-15, 2-5) roster in 2011.  Leading the way are All-ODAC Second Team choices in midfielder Taylor Lober (4g, 4a) and defender Tara White (1a, 5 def. saves).  Helping to round out the defense are a pair of All-ODAC Honorable Mention players in defender Evan Bunting (3g, 4a, 2 def. saves) and goalkeeper Kirsten Olson (4.56gaa, 81sv).

Shenandoah (8-9, 0-7 in Commonwealth) joins the ODAC from the Commonwealth Conference (Middle Atlantic States Collegiate Athletic Corporation).  The Hornets welcome back Sarah Deluca (6g) as their top returning scorer.   Also back are a trio on defense including twin defenders Katie (1g, 1a) and Hannah Johnson (1g) and goalkeeper Sarah Clare (2.82gaa, 135sv).

Sweet Briar (2-13, 0-7) looks to returning All-ODAC Second Team midfielder Alexandra St. Pierre (5g, 2a) to lead the way.  Morgan Harris (2g) joins her on the Vixens’ front line.

Listed below is the 2011 ODAC Field Hockey Preseason Poll.  For more information, visit any of the participating schools’ websites, or go to the ODAC’s home on the Internet at  Don’t forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook by clicking HERE.  You can also follow the ODAC on Twitter by clicking HERE.

(#) Denotes First Place Votes

1. Lynchburg (8) 64 pts.
2. Randolph-Macon 53 pts.
3. Washington and Lee (1) 51 pts.
4. Eastern Mennonite 46 pts.
5. Bridgewater 29 pts.
6. Roanoke 27 pts.
7. Virginia Wesleyan 23 pts.
8. Shenandoah 22 pts.
9. Sweet Briar 9 pts.