The Central Connecticut women's soccer team has been tabbed to finish fourth in the Northeast Conference by the 2013 NEC Preseason Coaches Poll, the league announced Tuesday. CCSU follows Saint Francis U., LIU Brooklyn and Sacred Heart on the list.
The Blue Devils return nine starters to the pitch this season including senior captains Jewel Robinson and Nikola Deiter. Deiter, who was named to the 2012 All-NEC First Team and 2012 NEC Goalkeeper of the Year, tallied 96 saves for a .800 save percentage and registered five shutouts last season. This summer, Deiter was also named All-East Goalkeeper of the Year as a member of the WPSL's New England Mutiny.
The top four point-leaders in 2012, including Robinson, are also returning to the Blue Devil squad in 2013. Junior Kerriann Welch posted three goals and two assists as a sophomore for eight points and a .400 shot on goal percentage. Robinson added two goals and an assist to total five points and was followed by 2012 All-NEC Second Team awardee Allison Kelley. The senior led the team in assists (three) and added one goal. Sophomore and 2012 NEC All-Rookie Team awardee Claire Walsh notched a goal of her own and an assist to render her fourth on the team in points as a freshman.
The fourth-place preseason ranking is up a spot from last season's fifth-place vote preceding a seventh-place finish overall in the NEC with a 3-7-0 conference record and a 4-13-1 overall record.
The Blue Devils will kick off the 2013 season on August 27 at Maine in Orono, ME followed by a match at UCONN on September 1. Central will host its first home match on Friday, September 6 in a 7 p.m. contest against St. John's (N.Y.).