CAMBRIDGE, MA -- The New England Collegiate Conference 2011 regular season champion Lynx have been selected to finish in first place again in 2012, the league announced in its preseason poll on Thursday.
Eight of the league's 10 coaches picked the Lynx to finish in first place, with Lesley earning a league-high 96 points to lead the poll. Mitchell College, the 2010 NECC Champion, finished second with 85 points and one first-place vote, while the Elms College Blazers, which upset Lesley 1-0 in last year's title game, were picked third (78 points).
Becker College was picked to come in fourth place, receiving the only other first-place nod (77 points).
Lesley returns seven starters, including reigning NECC Player of the Year Veronica Halen, from last year's team that went 14-4-1 overall and finished a perfect 9-0-0 in league play. Halen led the Lynx and tied for the conference lead with 18 goals in 2011. Over the last three seasons, the Lynx are 24-0-1 in NECC play.
The Lynx open 2012 in eight days on the road at Suffolk on Friday, August 31 at 1:00 p.m.
A complete rundown of the league preseason poll is below:
2012 NECC Women's Soccer Coaches Poll
1. Lesley - 96 (8)
2. Mitchell - 85 (1)
3. Elms - 78
4. Becker - 77 (1)
5. Regis - 61
6. Newbury - 48
7. Southern Vermont - 42
8. Bay Path - 33
9. Wheelock - 18
10. Daniel Webster - 12