Montclair, NJ (8/27/08) – The Montclair State field hockey team was picked fourth in the 2008 New Jersey Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. Montclair finished last season in the same position as MSU compiled a 15-6 record en route to capturing its second consecutive ECAC Mid-Atlantic Championship.
Two-time defending champion The College of New Jersey (four first-place votes) claimed the top spot in the poll followed by Rowan University (three first-place votes) and William Paterson, who was chosen as the darkhorse. Last season, Montclair fell to WPU during the regular-season but gained a measure of revenge with a 1-0 victory over the Pioneers in the ECAC semifinals. Kean, Ramapo and Richard Stockton rounded out the poll.
The Red Hawks return just one All-Conference player but six starters from last year’s team that closed out the year winning four its last five games.
Junior Megan Pietrunti (Middletown, NJ / Red Bank Catholic) was named First-Team All-NJAC after a solid season in which she led the team and ranked fourth in the conference in points scored with 32. Pietrunti also added six game-winning goals, including the lone tally in the win over WPU in the ECAC Tournament.
Also back are senior Jenna Gallo (Voorhees, NJ / Eastern) and fellow team captain Kathleen Leone (East Brunswick, NJ / East Brunswick) are back to help a defensive unit that allowed just one goal during the three-game ECAC run. Up front, juniors Megan Walsh ( Lumberton, NJ / Rancocas Valley), the third team-captain, and classmate Rebecca Dobiesz ( Old Bridge, NJ / Old Bridge) return after combining for 14 goals and nine assists.
Montclair’s schedule gets under way on Saturday, August 30 as the Red Hawks travel to Widener University for a 1:00 pm matchup with the Pride. It will be the second meeting between the teams with MSU winning the inaugural contest last season 3-1 at Sprague Field. Following the season opener, Montclair returns home for the start of a three-game homestand. MSU faces Rensselaer and SUNY-Geneseo in the MSU/WPU Invitational at Sprague Field on September 6-7. Montclair’s NJAC slate begins on Saturday, September 27 with a 5:30 pm contest at Sprague Field against Rowan University.