ANNVILLE, Pa. - After picking up eight wins a season ago, the Stevenson field hockey team was picked to finish sixth in the Commonwealth Conference Preseason Coaches Poll released on Thursday. The Mustangs received 33 points and were ranked ahead of Widener, Albright and Hood.
Defending conference champion Messiah was picked to as the preseason favorite to win this year's Commonwealth Conference championship. The Falcons, who won their sixth-straight conference title a year ago, were picked to finish first, receiving seven of the nine first-place points.
Messiah totaled 76 points, edging out rival Lebanon Valley who was ranked second with 54 points. The Dutchmen were the last team other than Messiah to win the Commonwealth Conference title in 2006 under Martin who spent 10 seasons at Lebanon Valley where she compiled a 169-50 record.
Arcadia was picked to finish third, followed by Elizabethtown, Alvernia, Stevenson, Widener, Albright and Hood.
The Mustangs open the season on Friday, August 30 when they travel to face Neumann beginning at 7:00 p.m. The team wraps up opening weekend on Saturday, August 31, when they face Virginia Wesleyan at Neumann. Game time is 2:00 p.m. The team went 8-12 a season ago while making its seventh consecutive conference tournament appearance.
Junior Caitlin Dempsey (Fallston, Md./Fallston) is the team's leading returning scorer from last season after totaling 18 points on eight goals and two assists. She was named to the All-Commonwealth Conference Second Team.
Stevenson also returns junior Ariella Hopp (Baltimore, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) who was also named to the All-Commonwealth Second Team last season after finishing with three goals and two assists for eight points. She also was tied for first on the team with three defensive saves.