Husson Chosen to Win the 2018 Field Hockey Championship
Husson University was selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2018 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Field Hockey Championship. The Eagles received 8 points and 2 first-place votes. UMaine-Farmington collected the remaining first place vote and a total of 7 points. Thomas rounded out the poll with 3 points.
Voting for the preseason poll was conducted among the league's head field hockey coaches.
2018 NAC Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll
Since the 2016 season, the NAC has partnered with the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) in the sport of field hockey. Field hockey sponsoring members in the NEAC competed as associate members of the NAC. Members from each conference were divided into an East (NAC) and West (NEAC) Divisions, with each division holding a championship and the two divisional champions then facing off to determine the conference champion.
The 2017 championship tournament began with No. 2 UMaine-Farmington beating No. 3 Castleton 4-3, and No.1 Husson besting No. 4 Colby-Sawyer 4-1 in NAC East semifinal action. Husson claimed the East division crown with a 3-2 win over UMaine-Farmington. The Eagles went on to top the West Division champions Keuka 8-2 in the title match, earning a berth in the NCAA tournament. Husson drew No.5 Babson for the first round of the tournament and prevailed with a thrilling 1-0 victory before being edged out by No. 14 Rochester 2-1 in the second round.
Beginning in 2018, The NAC is partnering with the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) to compete in alliance championships in the sports of field hockey and men's lacrosse, as announced by both conferences earlier today.
Currently, there are four NECC member schools who sponsor field hockey- Becker College, Dean College, Elms College, and New England College. The three NAC institutions who sponsor field hockey, University of Maine- Farmington, Husson University and Thomas College, will join the NECC as associate field hockey members.
Each conference will send their top three regular season finishers into postseason play, with the NAC No. 2 and No. 3 seeds facing off while the NECC No. 2 and No. 3 seeds battle in first-round action. Both games are set to take place on Halloween. The winners of those two match-ups will move on to a final four tournament with the respective No. 1 seeds, hosted by the No. 1 seed from the NECC, on November 3rd and 4th. The champion will be crowned the NECC Field Hockey Champion.
The alliance schools will schedule regular season field hockey contests for the 2019-2020 season and beyond.
Click HERE to view the 2018 NAC Field Hockey composite schedule.
2018 NAC Field Hockey Previews
For more information on each team, click the school name to be directed to the field hockey section of each school's website.
1. Husson (13-6, 5-0 NAC-East) Husson will be led by second-year head coach and two-time All-American Sabrina Smith. The 2018 Eagles feature a talented squad that looks to repeat as conference champions for the first time since 2014, and return to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles will see their second-leading scorer, Sadie Royer (Greene, Maine), return as well as senior defender Allison Leighton (Oackland, Maine). Coach Smith brought in six new faces that will provide depth to her 2018 sqaud, while sophomore goalie Andrea Shaggy (Harwinton, Conn.) takes over the starting role with the departure of 2017 NAC-East Defensive Player of the Year Anna Marie Provencal (Skowhegan, Maine). Expectations run high once again as the Eagles open their 22nd season at home vs. Wellesley on Friday, August 31st.
2. UMaine-Farmington (7-9, 4-1 NAC) Veteran head coach Cyndi Pratt returns to lead the Beavers. Seniors Torrie Nightingale (Bangor, ME) and Emma Martineau (Greene, ME) return to anchor the defensive unit while fellow seniors Andrea Stemm (Gorham, ME) and Rylie Turner (Portland, ME) will lead at midfield. Their experience and leadership will be key as the Beavers blend in a strong core of newcomers. UMaine Farmington gets underway on September 1 at Smith College.
3. Thomas (2-12, 1-4 NAC) Head Coach Andrea Thebarge enters her 11th season on the bench for the Terriers. She returns a strong veteran core in the midfield, including senior Katie Taylor (Lebanon, Maine), juniors Kelci Faulkingham (Belfast, Maine) and Allie Gregoire (Kennebunk, Maine), along with senior forward Tiffany Weeks (Kennebunk, Maine) and the goalie tandem of Leah Kruse (Norridgewock, Maine) and MacKenzie Oberholzer (Hancock, Md.). The Terriers will look to build off of experience of returners from last year as well as contributions from new comers to create more scoring opportunities. Thomas opens play at home on August 31 against Southern Maine.