FOREST, Va. -- The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) announced its 2010 Preseason Field Hockey Poll on Friday afternoon and Washington and Lee was pegged to finish second by the league’s coaches.
Perennial-power Lynchburg received 6-of-8 first-place votes en route to 61 total points and the top spot in the poll. W&L garnered the two remaining first-place votes in totaling 54 points and was followed closely by Eastern Mennonite with 53 points. Randolph-Macon (36), Virginia Wesleyan (30), Bridgewater (26), Roanoke (20) and Sweet Briar (8) rounded out the poll.
The Generals, who finished 10-7 overall (5-2 ODAC) and advanced to the conference semifinals last season, are seeking their second conference crown and first since 2005. Despite losing its top three scorers to graduation, W&L returns a talented roster in 2010, led by senior midfielder Emmy Mathews (Baltimore, Md./Bryn Mawr), junior forward Christina Benedetti (Derwood, Md./Holy Cross), senior midfielder Kate Donnelly (Houston, Texas/St. John’s) and senior defender Kelly Tran (Simsbury, Conn./Ethel Walker).
Mathews returns to the midfield after earning Second Team All-ODAC honors a season ago. She recorded three assists in 2009 and, for her career, has tallied a pair of goals and 11 assists. Benedetti returns as the team’s leading scorer, having registered two goals and a team-high eight assists last year.
Donnelly and Tran were two key cogs on a defense that yielded just 29 goals in 2009, including a stretch of six consecutive shutouts from Oct. 10-Oct. 31. The 29 goals allowed were the fewest in the ODAC and W&L ranked 15th nationally in shutouts.
The Generals open their season on Sept. 10, when they host Catholic at 7:00 pm at the W&L Turf Field.
View the ODAC relase and full poll here.