The Central Connecticut women's soccer team was tabbed third in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll as announced by the league office on Monday. The Blue Devils received a first-place vote and will open the season at home against Massachusetts on August 19.
Two-time defending champion Saint Francis U received four first-place votes and was picked first in the preseason poll. Fairleigh Dickinson was picked second and hauled in three first-place votes, while Bryant received the final first-place vote and was tabbed fourth.
Head coach Mick D'Arcy, the program's winningest coach, will begin his 19th season on the CCSU sidelines. Senior goalkeeper Ashley Cavanaugh returns after being named the NEC Goalkeeper of the Year. She was among the nation's leaders with nine shutouts and posted a 0.72 goals against average and a .838 save percentage. Senior Danielle Pearse ranked second on the team with 10 points and four goals. Sophomores Erica Bardes (3G, 1A) and Jenna Rae Covello (5G, 1A) were both named to the NEC All-Rookie Team and will bolster the Central attack.
Central will begin the chase for its ninth NEC Championship at home against Massachusetts on Sunday, August 19. The match is set to start at 6:00 p.m.
The Northeast Conference tournament will take place on November 2 and 4. All games of the 2018 NEC Women's Soccer Tournament will be broadcast live on NEC Front Row. The top four finishers, based on winning percentage during the league's regular season will qualify for the tournament. The high seed will host the entire event.