FOREST, Va. -- The Washington and Lee field hockey team resides in third place in the annual ODAC Field Hockey Preseason Poll which was released on Tuesday afternoon.
Defending conference champion Lynchburg College was pegged to repeat as ODAC champs with 8-of-9 first-place votes for 64 total points. Randolph-Macon edged out the Generals for second in the poll with 53 points, while W&L garnered one first-place vote and 51 points overall. Eastern Mennonite (46), Bridgewater (29), Roanoke (27), Virginia Wesleyan (23), league newcomer Shenandoah (22) and Sweet Briar (9) rounded out the poll.
The Generals are coming off a 9-8 campaign (5-2 ODAC) and a trip to the ODAC semifinals but must replace three of their top four scorers from a year ago. Junior midfielder Chelsea Stevenson (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) returns as the top offensive threat for W&L after registering six goals and three assists last season.
Also returning for the Blue and White is senior midfielder and team captain Christina Benedetti (Derwood, Md./Holy Cross), who notched a pair of goals last season and has appeared in 52-of-53 games her first three seasons.
Honorable mention All-ODAC performer Riley Hampsch (Hopedale, Mass./Hopedale) will also be back for her sophomore campaign. The defender started 16-of-17 games in her rookie campaign and tied for the team lead with two defensive saves.
The Generals' season opens on September 1 when they travel to Stevenson for a 4:30 pm contest. W&L's first home game on its new artificial turf is slated for September 5 against McDaniel at 2:00 pm.