TOWSON, Md. – The Catholic University field hockey team was picked to win its fifth league title in the Landmark Conference preseason poll released on Tuesday.
The Cardinals, who have won 18 consecutive conference contests dating back to 2016, received 60 points and two first-place votes. The team has appeared in eight of the last nine conference championship games while winning four titles.
This season also marks the program's 50th anniversary since its inaugural season in 1969.
Catholic returns 20 players, including nine starters from last year's team that went 8-9 overall and a perfect 7-0 in the Landmark Conference. Five of the team's nine losses came against teams ranked in the NFHCA poll.
Among the team's top returners is senior Nicole Tsiaras who was named the 2018 Landmark Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was an NFHCA All-South Atlantic Region Third Team selection. The Cardinals also welcome back junior Meghan Shallow and sophomore Grace Jung who both earned All-Landmark Conference First Team honors a year ago.
Defending champion Susquehanna received 58 points and four first place votes while 2018 runner-up Scranton was picked to finish third with 48 points and two first-place votes.
Elizabethtown was fourth with 42 points. Six-time conference champion Juniata was fifth with 23 points while Moravian was sixth (19 points), Goucher was seventh (13 points) and Drew was eighth (9 points).
The Cardinals open the season at home on Saturday, Aug. 31 against TCNJ. The Lions went 16-5 a year ago and was ranked at No. 7 in the final NFHCA poll after advancing to the national quarterfinals, losing to eventual national champion Middlebury.
Catholic opens conference play at home on Saturday, Sept. 28 against rival Scranton.
2019 Field Hockey Preseason Poll
1. CATHOLIC - 60 points (2)
2. Susquehanna - 58 points (4)
3. Scranton - 48 points (2)
4. Elizabethtown – 42 points
5. Juniata – 23 points
6. Moravian – 19 points
7. Goucher - 13 points
8. Drew – 9 points