PAWTUCKET, R.I. - The Worcester State University women's tennis and field hockey teams are both projected to make postseason appearances, as the Little East Conference has announced the Preseason Coaches' Polls for both sports.
The Lancers women's tennis team earned 45 points to finish sixth in the poll, which was announced by the conference on Monday afternoon. Rhode Island College was the unanimous winner of the poll, picking up nine first place votes to finish with 81 points. Plymouth State finished in second, followed by third place Salem State and Bridgewater State and UMass Dartmouth, who finished in a tie for fourth.
Worcester State returns nearly its entire roster from last season, including each of its regular six starters, led by 2018 LEC First Team All-Conference Singles selection Dominique Alves (Ludlow, Mass.). Rejoining the team after missing 2018 due to injury is senior captain Lauren Taylor (Attleboro, Mass.), who combined to win 20 matches in her freshman and sophomore seasons.
The Lancers placed third in a tightly contested LEC Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll, earning two first place votes and finishing with 126 points. Reigning LEC Champion Keene State finished atop the poll with eight first place votes and 138 points, followed by second place Castleton, with three first place votes and 130 points. Projected behind Worcester State, in order, are Southern Maine, Western Connecticut State, Plymouth State, and Fitchburg State. Finishing in eighth place to grab the final projected playoff position was Bridgewater State.
Despite the loss of the program's all-time scoring leader Michaila Parent (Westborough, Mass.) to graduation, the Lancers still return a solid core group in 2019 that will contend for a Little East title. 2018 All-LEC selections Olivia Antonelli (Westford, Mass.), Coley Hayes (Norwood, Mass.), Rachel Hopkins (Chelmsford, Mass.), and Jess Hopkins (Chelmsford, Mass.) all return to the Worcester State lineup this season.
Both teams kick off their 2019 seasons on Saturday with matchups on the road. The field hockey team travels to Anna Maria for an 11 a.m. start, while women's tennis takes on Wentworth.
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