WINTHROP, Mass. – The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's lacrosse team was selected to finish 12th in the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches' Poll, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon by the league's front office. The annual poll is voted upon by the conference's 12 head coaches. The Blue Jays will open the 2019 campaign under first-year head coach Andrew Fink on the road against Elms College on Thursday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Western New England University.
Seeking its third GNAC Championship crown in as many years, Johnson & Wales University (JWU) received nine of a possible 12 first-place votes and 138 poll points to take the top spot in the 2019 GNAC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches' Poll. Second-year head coach Jessica Scannapieco was voted 2018 GNAC Coach of the Year by her peers as the Wildcats won their second straight conference title in her first season, with 10 JWU student-athletes receiving All-Conference honors.
JWU will open up the 2019 campaign this weekend, traveling to Wheaton on Saturday, February 23 at 1:00 p.m. They will also be at Rhodes (Feb. 26), vs. Coast Guard (March 2), and at Roger Williams (March 5) before opening GNAC play on March 13.
Lasell College, which fell to JWU in the last year's championship game, finished second in the poll with 132 points and two first-place votes, as voted upon by the league's head coaches. The Lasers will begin the season at home next Thursday, February 28 against Emerson.
Saint Joseph's College of Maine also received one first-place vote to go along with 118 points in the poll, while Regis College finished fourth with 101 points. The Monks, who will open up at Husson next Saturday, March 2, lost to Regis in last year's GNAC Quarterfinals after both teams finished with a 7-3 GNAC record. Regis, which fell to JWU in the GNAC semifinals one year ago, will be on the road at UMass Dartmouth next Tuesday, Feb. 26.
Finishing fifth in the poll was Simmons University with 95 points, followed by newest GNAC member Colby-Sawyer College, which advanced to the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Championship game last spring, with 86 points. Norwich University was just behind that pace with 78 points.
Rounding out the poll were Emmanuel College (58 points), Rivier University (49), Albertus Magnus College (30), Anna Maria College (28), and the University of Saint Joseph (23).
The AMCATS will be in their first year of rebooting the department's women's lacrosse program, which last took the field in 2014.
The 2019 GNAC Tournament dates are set for April 27, April 30, and May 4, hosted by high seeds throughout for a shot to capture the league's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Tournament.