BIG EAST Preseason Poll Released
Hokies picked sixth in division
July 31, 2003

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - For the third consecutive year, Connecticut and Notre Dame have been picked to capture the 2003 BIG EAST Women's Soccer regular season divisional titles, as voted by the conference coaches. The Huskies were selected to finish the regular season atop the Northeast Division, while the Fighting Irish were chosen to garner the Mid-Atlantic Division championship.

Virginia Tech, which returns nine starters from last season, was selected to finish sixth in the Northeast Division. The Hokies compiled a 6-11-1 record in 2002 and finished fifth in the conference. This year, new head coach Kelly Cagle will take the reigns for Tech.

In the Northeast Division, Connecticut was again selected to win the regular season title. The Huskies, the defending BIG EAST champion, topped Georgetown, Villanova and West Virginia en route to last year's crown. UConn placed one player on the preseason team - forward/midfielder Kristen Graczyk. The junior was second in the BIG EAST last season with 36 points and ranked third with 15 goals, including five game-winners. Connecticut completed 2002 with a 21-3-1 record and a No. 6 ranking in the Soccer America final poll.

The Irish, who advanced to the third round of the NCAA Women's Soccer College Cup a year ago, hope to rebound after having their streak of seven straight BIG EAST Championship titles stopped in 2002. Junior Candace Chapman, the conference's preseason Defensive Player of the Year, leads Notre Dame. She is joined on the preseason All-BIG EAST team by senio teammates Amanda Guertin and Amy Warner.

West Virginia senior Chrissie Abbott was selected as the BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. The league's returning offensive honoree, Abbott led the conference in seven of nine offensive categories, including scoring (47 points), goals (20), shots (159) and game-winning goals (9). She was a first team All-America selection in 2002.

This year's BIG EAST Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year is Chrissy Dolan of Villanova. The senior led the conference in saves(142) and shutouts (9) in 2002. She appeared in all 21 games for the Wildcats, finishing second in the league with a 0.55 goals against average.

Conference play begins on Sept. 21 when Virginia Tech visits Syracuse, while the first game involving a league squad is Aug. 23, when Miami hosts Florida. A team's BIG EAST record is determined by divisional games only. The top four teams in each division will qualify for the BIG EAST Championship. Quarterfinal games will be held at campus sites on Nov. 1 & 2, while the semifinals and final will be held at Rutgers Soccer Stadium in Piscataway, N.J., on Nov. 7 & 9.

                                      '02 Record '02 Finish
Northeast              Pts  BIG EAST  Overall    Reg. Season
1. Connecticut (13)    91   6-0-0     21-3-1     1st
2. Boston College (1)  80   4-2-0     11-8-1     3rd
3. Miami               66   4-1-1      9-9-1     2nd
4. St. John's          52   3-3-0     11-6-4     4th
5. Syracuse            41   0-5-1     3-11-3     7th
6. Virginia Tech       31   2-4-0     6-11-1     5th
7. Providence          30   1-5-0      8-9-2     6th

'02 Record '02 Finish Mid-Atlantic Pts BIG EAST Overall Reg. Season 1. Notre Dame (10) 88 3-3-0 13-8-0 Tied 4th 2. West Virginia (4) 82 5-0-1 18-3-1 1st 3. Villanova 61 4-1-1 14-3-4 2nd 4. Rutgers 58 3-2-1 10-8-2 3rd 5. Georgetown 46 3-3-0 11-7-0 Tied 4th 6. Seton Hall 27 1-4-1 7-11-1 6th 7. Pittsburgh 23 0-6-0 4-15-0 7th first place votes in parentheses

BIG EAST PRESEASON AWARDS Offensive Player of the Year Chrissie Abbott, West Virginia, Sr., F Defensive Player of the Year Candace Chapman, Notre Dame, Jr., D Goalkeeper of the Year Chrissy Dolan, Villanova, Sr., GK

Preseason All-BIG EAST Team Chrissy Dolan, Villanova, Sr., GK Sarah Rahko, Boston College, Sr., M/F Kristen Graczyk, Connecticut, Jr., F/M Jessie Beers-Altman, Georgetown, Sr., F Vonda Matthews, Miami, Sr., M/D Candace Chapman, Notre Dame, Jr., D Amanda Guertin, Notre Dame, Sr., F Amy Warner, Notre Dame, Sr., F *Carli Lloyd, Rutgers, Jr., M/F Laura Johnson, Villanova, Jr., F Chrissie Abbott, West Virginia, Sr., F Lisa Stoia, West Virginia, Sr., M * - unanimous selection a tie in the voting created an additional position on the preseason team