(Posted August 19, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The defending Landmark Conference champion Juniata College field hockey team has been picked to finish second in the race for the 2008 title, according to the league's preseason poll which was released Tuesday afternoon.

Catholic University, whom Juniata downed 2-1 in the 2007 Landmark title game, was selected as the preseason favorite to capture the conference championship with 62 points. Juniata trailed closely with 59 points.

The gap widened for the teams picked third and fourth in the poll. Drew University, who finished third last season with a 4-2 conference record, were tabbed third in the 2008 preseason poll with 48 points. The University of Scranton was fourth with 30 points.

Moravian College and Susquehanna University tied for fifth in the poll with 28 points, followed by Goucher College in seventh place with 18 points.

Juniata finished with a 21-3 overall record, 5-1 Landmark, last season, but must replace six starters off a squad that advanced to the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship "elite eight" round. Among the graduated seniors are the Landmark's 2007 Offensive Player of the Year, two-time All-American Kim Wagner; and the conference's Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Heather Hassinger. The 2008 edition of the Juniata Eagles will be paced by All-Landmark Conference goalie Abby Funk (Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg) and reigning Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year Paula Price (Camp Hill, Pa./East Pennsboro).

The Eagles will open their 2008 season on Saturday, Aug. 30, when they face Arcadia University in a neutral site game at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

The Landmark Conference preseason field hockey poll was voted upon by head coaches and sports information directors at each institution that sponsors the sport. Complete results are below:

2008 Preseason Field Hockey Poll

1. Catholic University â?" 62 pts.
2. Juniata College â?" 59 pts.
3. Drew University â?" 48 pts.
4. University of Scranton â?" 30 pts.
5. Moravian College â?" 28 pts.
Susquehanna University â?" 28 pts.
7. Goucher College â?" 18 pts.


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.