Aug. 14, 2009

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Two members of the Providence College field hockey program have earned Preseason Player of the year awards. Nellie Poulin (Oakland, Maine) earned BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and Rachel Chamberlain (Branford, Conn.) was tabbed Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Along with earning these honors both were selected to the All-BIG EAST Preseason Team, in which Poulin was a unanimous selection. The Friars were selected to finish fourth in the BIG EAST Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll.

Poulin, a Third Team All-America selection, enters the 2009 season as one of the top offensive performers in Providence College history. She currently ranks ninth in career points with 80 and tied for seventh all-time in career goals with 35. Having been a starter since her freshman year Poulin led the Friars in 2008 with 16 goals, which is the highest single season total by a Friar since the 1989 season. She also recorded five multiple-goal games, including her first career hat trick against Georgetown on October 26. She spent this past summer playing for the New England Team at the Women's High Performance National Championship in Virginia Beach. She finished the tournament as the top scorer with five goals in six games.

Chamberlain returns to the Friars having already won two BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year awards in 2006 and 2007, and was named a Third-Team All-American in 2006. She started in all 21 of the Friars' 2008 games, and played over 1,500 minutes while recording a 1.63 goals against average and a 0.759 save percentage. During her first three seasons as the Friars' starting goalie she posted 17 shut-out victories with a 1.38 goals against average and a .783 save percentage.

The Friars return all of their top five scorers from the 2008 season and were selected to finish fourth in the 2009 BIG EAST Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll. Syracuse is projected to finish at the top of the conference receiving four first-place votes with 34 points. Following just behind Syracuse was Connecticut, who received three first-place votes and 33 points. Louisville was selected third (26 points), followed by Providence (21 points). Finishing out the coaches' poll was Villanova with 15 points, Rutgers with 12 points and Georgetown with six.

The Friars open the 2009 season on the road at Massachusetts on August 29. Providence will return home to face Virginia on September 4 at the Friar Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.

BIG EAST PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR Nellie Poulin, F, Sr., Providence

BIG EAST PRESEASON CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR Rachel Chamberlain, GK, Sr., Providence Heather Bustanoby, GK, Sr., Louisville

ALL-BIG EAST PRESEASON TEAM Maggie Befort, D, Jr., Syracuse Jenna Bull, M, Jr., Rutgers Heather Bustanoby, GK, Sr., Louisville Rachel Chamberlain, GK, Sr., Providence Lindsey Conrad, F, Jr., Syracuse Melissa Gonzalez, F, Jr., Connecticut Rayell Heistand, D, So., Connecticut Martina Loncarica, M, So., Syracuse Nellie Poulin, F, Sr., Providence Lauren Wuzzardo, M/F, Jr., Villanova Nicole Youman, M/D, Jr., Louisville * = unanimous selection

BIG EAST FIELD HOCKEY PRESEASON COACHES' POLL BIG EAST BIG EAST Points EAST Overall Finish Syracuse (4) 34 5-1 22-2 T-1st Connecticut (3) 33 5-1 17-4 T-1st Louisville 26 5-1 14-7 T-1st Providence 21 3-3 12-9 4th Villanova 15 2-4 12-7 5th Rutgers 12 1-5 14-6 6th Georgetown 6 0-6 0-17 7th