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Juniata Earns High Marks In Commonwealth Preseason Polls

(Posted August 26, 2005)

Senior Katie Laucks will try and help the Eagles, who were picked to finish first in the Commonwealth Preseason Coaches Poll, to their 25th conference championship.

Huntingdon, Pa. - The Juniata College fall athletic teams are represented in the Commonwealth Conference preseason polls which have been released this week. Each poll is compiled by collecting the votes of the eight conference coaches in the respective sports. The conference released polls this week for field hockey, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball. The preseason polls for women's tennis and cross country will be released next week.

The Juniata women's volleyball team had the highest ranking of any Eagles squad as the defending national champions were tabbed for the top spot with 49 points. The volleyball team also claimed a high ranking in the CSTV/AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 preseason poll. Juniata ranked second in the poll, just five points behind top-ranked Washington University (Mo.). Juniata actually claimed more first-place votes than Washington but remained five points behind them. The Eagles' field hockey team also claimed a spot near the top of its poll as the team was picked to finish third in the Commonwealth poll. Juniata was six points behind both Messiah and Lebanon Valley, which tied for the top spot. The men's soccer team held down the seventh-place position in its poll after receiving 12 points. The Eagles were 12 points behind sixth-place Widener. Rounding out the polls was the women's soccer team which received eight points to claim the eighth spot in the conference poll. Juniata sat five points behind Widener which claimed the seventh spot.

The women's volleyball team returns four starters including the libero from last season's national championship team. Included among the returnees is a pair of All-Americans, as well as three players who claimed NCAA All-Tournament Team recognition. Overall the Eagles welcome back seven letter winners to go with a large, talented freshman class.

The field hockey team is coming off arguably the finest season in the program's history as the team earned its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 2004. Despite the loss of three All-Conference players, the Eagles retain a pair of All-Conference performers as well as a large portion of the starting lineup from a team that dropped just one regular-season conference game last season.

The Juniata men's soccer team is looking to incorporate a large group of returning players with an exciting freshmen class. The Eagles have their top seven goal scorers back from last season along with all of the squad's starting goalkeepers. Added to the mix will be a large group of freshman who should provide great depth for a team that posted a 1-6 mark in conference action last season.

The women's soccer team got a jumpstart on its season as the team spent 10 days playing and practicing in the United Kingdom before returning for preseason. The women bring back a pair of players who have captured All-Conference laurels during their careers, as well as seven starters from the 2004 team. Juniata has won at least six matches each of the past four seasons.

The women's soccer team will open up the 2005-06 athletic season when the team hosts LaRoche for a non-conference match on Thursday Sept. 1. Volleyball will begin play Friday Sept. 2 at the Wittenberg (Ohio) Invitational. Men's soccer and field hockey will open on Saturday with field hockey playing at Wooster, and soccer playing in a season-opening tournament at Penn State-Behrend.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.