Aug. 25, 2010

Courtesy of Salisbury

CHANDLER, Ariz. – The Salisbury University field hockey team is already hard at work preparing to defend the team's 2009 NCAA Division III Field Hockey national championship. On Tuesday afternoon the squad received some good news from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association as the Sea Gulls were ranked No. 1 in the nation in the NFHCA's preseason poll.

The Sea Gulls, who received 1,182 points and 40 first-place votes in the poll, capped off a highly successful 2009 campaign on November 22, 2009 as they defeated Messiah College, 1-0, in the NCAA national championship game. Messiah narrowly trails Salisbury in the rankings, sitting as the No. 2 team in the nation (1,144 points, 12 first-place votes). 

Ursinus College (1,078 points, four first-place votes), Tufts University (1,069 points, three first-place votes) and Cortland State (866 points) round out the top five teams; the Sea Gulls defeated all three of them last season en route to the program's fifth national championship. Middlebury College, Rowan University and Bowdoin College also received first-place votes in the poll. 

The NFHCA's first regular-season poll will be released on Sept. 14. The maroon and gold will open up their season on Sept. 4, at home, against Capital Athletic Conference opponent University of Mary Washington at 1 p.m.