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Somerset, NJ— Defending Northeast Conference women’s golf champion LIU Brooklyn was voted with five first-place votes by the league’s head coaches in the preseason poll to win a second straight title.
2013 Northeast Conference
Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. LIU Brooklyn (5)
2. Fairleigh Dickinson (4)
3. Central Connecticut (2)
4. Saint Francis U
6. Sacred Heart
7. Robert Morris
10. Mount St. Mary's
11. St. Francis Brooklyn
First Place Votes in Parentheses ()
Fairleigh Dickinson, the 2012 runner-up, was tabbed second, followed by Central Connecticut, Saint Francis U and Monmouth in the top-five. Sacred Heart, Robert Morris and Quinnipiac were sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Wagner, Mount St. Mary’s and St. Francis Brooklyn round out the 11-team field.
The Blackbirds won their second conference title last season under NEC Co-Head Coach of the Year Natalie Desjardins and return the individual champion, Cristina Felip (Barcelona, Spain/IES Joaquim Blume). Felip led LIU Brooklyn at three tournaments in the fall while posting two top-10 finishes. Her teammate Brianna Maynard (Auckland, New Zealand/Rosehill College) was the frontrunner for the Blackbirds twice. This included a 17th place finish at the Sacred Heart Invitational, which was the top finish of any NEC athlete at the tournament.
Coming off a second place finish at the NEC Tournament, Fairleigh Dickinson returns Annika Karrlson (Ekero, Poland), the 2012 NEC Golfer of the Year and runner-up at the NEC Championship. Her teammate Mariana Juaristi (Irapuato, Guanajuato/Prepa Tec) tied for sixth and earned a spot on the All-NEC First Team.
Central Connecticut enjoyed a successful fall campaign, finishing no higher than 10th in its five tournaments. Anna Ausanio (Hopewell Junction, NY/John Jay) will lead the Blue Devils. The senior placed fifth at the NEC Tournament in 2012 and holds a 79.1 average through the fall with two top-10 finishes.
Saint Francis U saw a third place finish at the Cleveland State Invitational before coming in fourth at the Winthrop Invitational. Ann Colligan (Kittanning, PA/Kittanning), was named to the NEC All-Conference Second Team and tied for sixth last season at the NEC Championship. Over the fall, she recorded three top-five finishes, including earning medalist honors at the Cleveland State Invitational.
Monmouth posted three top-10 finishes over the fall, including a win at the Hartford Invitational. Macy Raimo (Albany, NY/Colonie Central) claimed the individual title. The Hawks also return Michelle Rosenhouse (Dix Hills, NY/Half Hollow Hills West), placed a team-best fourth last year at the conference championship.
Sacred Heart placed third at the ECAC Invitational for the Pioneers’ best finish of the fall. Gabrielle Riber (Stockholm, Sweden/Danderyds Gymnasium), was named to the All-NEC Second Team for the second time and placed eight at the conference championship. She also led the Pioneers at the Sacred Heart Fall Classic.
Robert Morris placed in the five three times during the fall. The Colonials posted a season-best second place at its own RMU Colonial Classic, backed by a win from senior Jenna Rinker (Slippery Rock, PA/Slippery Rock). Rinker holds the best average for the Colonials through the fall at 78.6, while also posting two first-place finishes this year.
Led by 2012 Co-Head Coach of the Year John O’Connor, Quinnipiac was picked to finish eighth this season. Freshman Krissy Unger (New York, NY/Northport) became the first Bobcat to take home medalist honors when she did so at the Quinnipiac Classic, while also helping the program to a team win.
Ellen Huffman (Lima, OH/Lima Catholic Central) will be the top returner for Wagner. The sophomore was named to the 2012 All-NEC First Team, tied for ninth at the conference championship. She recorded two top-10 finishes this fall.
Mount St. Mary’s and St. Francis Brooklyn boast a crop of talented underclassmen this season. The Mount’s Kelsey Hayward (Seekonk, MA/St. Mary’s Academy), a sophomore, posted the best average on the squad through the fall. Freshman Nikki Liucci (Canton, CT/Canton) owns the lowest average on the Terriers squad and earned her first career top-10 finish at the Quinnipiac Classic in October.
The 2013 NEC Women’s Golf Tournament will be held at the LPGA International Club in Daytona Beach, FL from April 26-28. Team scores will be compiled by adding the team’s four lowest scores from each day. The top-10 finishers will be designated All-Tournament performers.