WEST LONG BRANCH – Defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) champion, Monmouth University, was selected as the 2014 MAAC Women’s Soccer preseason favorite to capture the league crown, as voted by the conference’s 11 head coaches.
The Hawks, which tied a program record with 17 victories last year and went unbeaten in conference play (8-0-2), earned 118 points in the voting with eight first place votes, while second-place Fairfield University came in a close second with 113 points. Monmouth and Fairfield, which finished 1-2 in the final regular season standings a year ago, faced off in the 2013 MAAC Championship game.
“It is very rewarding for our team to be selected first in the preseason poll by the other coaches in the league,” head coach Krissy Turner said. “While we are honored, we are focused on where we finish at the end of the season. The regular season champion will be hosting the conference championships, which only increases the importance of every match. Our non-conference schedule should prepare us well for our second year in the MAAC.”
In addition, a quartet of Hawks were named to the Preseason All-MAAC Team. Sophomore forward Alexis McTamney, who was the 2013 MAAC Rookie of the Year, junior midfielder Brianne Boyle, senior back and co-captain Alexa Freguletti and junior back Monique Goncalves were all lauded by the league’s coaches.
“It is terrific for these four players to be recognized,” said Turner, who had 10 players earn all-conference recognition last season, including the four who were named to the MAAC First-Team. “They were instrumental in our success in the past and we are expecting them to continue to improve and lead our program in 2014. Our backline was outstanding last season and Alexa and Monique were an integral part of that. Brianne helped control our midfield and Alexis scored important goals for us.
“The MAAC has many talented players and for these four to be included on the preseason All-MAAC Team is a credit to each of them for their hard work,” the coach said.
Monmouth finished its 2013 campaign with a 17-2-2 overall record and an unbeaten 8-0-2 record in the MAAC to claim the outright regular season crown, and capped off the season by defeating Fairfield in the 2013 MAAC Championship title game, en route to the school’s first conference title as a member of the MAAC, and third overall NCAA Tournament appearance.
During the 2013 season, Monmouth set school records in points earned during league play (26) and shutouts (16), and claimed four of the five regular season major awards, including Turner being named the 2013 Anaconda Sports MAAC Coach of the Year.
The Blue & White also finished as the NCAA Division I statistical leader for shutout percentage (.762), and ranked as high as fourth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Northeast Region.
Monmouth opens its 2014 campaign at the University of Delaware at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at Grant Stadium and has nine home matches this season on the newly renovated Hesse Field at The Great Lawn.