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Varsity athletic squads prep for new conference
Quinnipiac athletics is set to begin a new era. Since July 1, the Bobcats have officially left the Northeast Conference and are now a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in all sports, with the exception of men’s and women’s ice hockey, acrobatics & tumbling and women’s rugby.
The men’s and women’s soccer teams are set to begin the season as one of the 11 teams in the conference. The other 10 teams in the league include Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, Marist, Monmouth, Niagara, Rider, Saint Peter’s and Siena.
The women’s soccer team began its regular season on the road against nationally-ranked No. 18 Georgetown on Aug. 25, while the men’s team will play at Providence on Friday. The women’s squad will have a strong contingent of teams in the MAAC. Marist and Fairfield both went 8-1 in the conference, while Loyola finished in third place with a 6-2-1 record. Siena, Canisius and Manhattan all finished with two wins, while St. Peter’s finished in last place with only one conference win in nine games.
The men’s soccer team is sticking to its traditionally difficult non-conference schedule against some of the toughest teams in the Northeast. Quinnipiac will face a Big East foe in the Friars, and then will travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass. to take on Boston College on Labor Day.
The 2013 men’s campaign will see Quinnipiac begin against another intra-state rival, this time with Fairfield after battling Central Connecticut for state supremacy in the NEC. In 2012, Loyola (Md.) had the best MAAC conference record at 7-1, followed by Siena with six victories and one loss. Loyola, however, was upset in the conference title game by Niagara, who finished third in the conference. Only four teams were above .500, with Rider being the last squad. Canisius and Marist rounded out the bottom tier with one win each in conference play.
Junior goalkeeper Borja Angoitia was recognized when he was named to the College Sports Madness MAAC Preseason All-Conference Team. Last year, Angoitia tied the program record for wins, and also guiding Quinnipiac to a regular season conference title.
Former NEC member and Quinnipiac rival Monmouth was picked to win the conference in a coaches’ poll. Monmouth received 111 points to edge Iona, also boasting an 11-4-4 record last season. Under 10th-year head coach Robert McCourt, the Hawks have won seven regular season titles and four tournament crowns in the past decade in the NEC. Fairfield was chosen to finish third, followed by Niagara and Siena. Quinnipiac was picked sixth in the poll, with Canisius, Marist, St. Peter’s, Manhattan and Rider rounding out the conference.
The field hockey team was picked second in the MAAC preseason poll, with three of its players making the All-MAAC Team. The team will be playing against familiar opponents throughout the year, as seven of the eight NEC field hockey teams merged to the MAAC in the conference’s first year with the sport. Rider, Monmouth, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Bryant and Siena make up the other teams.
Jess Rusin, Jennalise Taylor and Amanda Danziger were the three honored on the preseason all-conference squad.
Two sophomores will take the reigns for the women’s golf team as it joins the MAAC. Krissy Unger and Jenn Whaley will lead the squad in year four of the program under head coach John O’Connor.
The women’s volleyball team will be led by seniors Bonnie Conklin and Logan Riker and juniors Brittanie Robinson and Tierra Allen. With second-year head coach Kristopher Czaplinski adjusting to another season invested with the team, Quinnipiac will look to improve from its 2-23 record from last season.
Czaplinski’s squad opens up with two non-conference tournaments, the first of which starting Friday at the Delta Zeta Texas State Classic. The Bobcats join a field of Lamar, Houston, Southern Methodist and the hosting Texas State University.
The Quinnipiac women’s volleyball team opens its home schedule on Wednesday, Sept. 4, with a non-conference matchup against Providence College at 6 p.m.