(Posted August 3, 2001)

The Middle Atlantic Corporation (MAC) released its pre-season polls for fall sports this week and the Juniata College athletic program finds itself from top to bottom across the board. All of the polls were voted on by the head coaches from each sport.

In the sport of football, the Eagles are picked eighth in the 11-team Middle Atlantic Conference. There is no more Commonwealth and Freedom leagues for football. Juniata received 45 points and one first-place vote, while Widener, the defending MAC champion, earned 120 points and 10 first-place nods to sit atop the pre-season poll. The rest of the poll goes Lycoming (2nd-108 points), Susquehanna (3rd-94 points), Moravian (4th-80 points), Wilkes (5th-77 points), King's (6th-73 points), Lebanon Valley (7th-46 points), Albright (9th-33 points), FDU-Madison (10th-25 points) and Delaware Valley (11th-18 points). The Eagles, who are coached by Kevin Burke, are coming off a 1-9 overall mark and a 1-8 record in the MAC.

On the volleyball scene, Juniata is picked to earn its 21st conference crown. The Eagles earned 42 points and four of the six first-place votes cast in the pre-season Commonwealth Conference rankings. Juniata, guided by 25th-year mentor Larry Bock, who is six wins shy of 900 triumphs in his career, posted a 33-10 overall mark a year ago and a 7-0 record in the Commonwealth. Susquehanna is picked second with 38 points, while Moravian earned the third spot with 34 markers, including one first-place vote. Messiah is fourth (29), Lebanon Valley is fifth (22, including one first-place vote), Widener is sixth (22), Elizabethtown is seventh (20) and Albright is eighth (9).

Coach Caroline Gillich's field hockey squad is selected to tie for fourth in the highly-competitive Commonwealth Conference. The Eagles, who are coming off a 7-12 overall season, including a 2-5 mark in the loop, totaled 33 points in the pre-season ratings. Lebanon Valley took top honors in the poll with 45 points, including four of the six first-place votes cast. Susquehanna is second in the poll (39, including one first-place vote), Messiah is third (36, including one first-place vote), Elizabethtown is also fourth (33), Widener is sixth (18) and Albright and Moravian are tied for seventh with 10 points apiece.

The Eagle soccer teams will have some work to do to impress a grouping that has selected them to finish around the bottom of the standings in 2001. Coach Scott McKenzie enters his second season at the helm for both programs on College Hill. The women's soccer unit, which went 4-12 overall and 1-6 in the conference in 2000, is picked to finish eighth in the Commonwealth Conference pre-season poll with 10 points. Messiah is selected to place first (46, including four of the six first-place votes offered), while Elizabethtown picked up the other two first-place votes and earned 44 points to place second in the poll. Moravian is third (31), Susquehanna and Lebanon Valley are tied for fourth (29), while Widener and Albright are tied for sixth (21). On the men's side, Juniata is picked to place seventh (16 points) in the eight-team Commonwealth Conference. The Eagles were 3-15 overall a year ago and 0-7 in the Commonwealth. Messiah has been selected to win the Commonwealth with 61 points and six first-place votes. Moravian is second (53, including one first-place vote), Elizabethtown is third (52, including one first-place vote),
Lebanon Valley is fourth (41), Susquehanna is fifth (30), Widener is sixth (24) and Albright is eighth (11).

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