Coming off their second ever appearance in the Landmark Conference Championship game, The University of Scranton Field Hockey team was picked third in the 2019 preseason poll as announced by the league office on Tuesday morning.
Scranton is in search of the first title in program history after dropping a 2-0 decision to Susquehanna in the finals a year ago. The Royals advanced to the championship tilt after a 1-0 upset victory over top-seeded Catholic. 2018 marked the seventh time in eight seasons that Scranton has advanced to the Landmark Conference playoffs.
Head coach Colleen Moyer's club received two first places votes and 48 total points to place third in the poll. Catholic topped the poll with 60 points and two first place votes, while the defending champion River Hawks tallied four first place votes and 58 points to place second. The remainder of the poll went as follows: Elizabethtown (42 points), Juniata (23), Moravian (19), Goucher (13) and Drew (9).
The Royals return 21 players from a team that went 13-6 (4-3 Landmark) a year ago including Landmark Conference Player of the Year Gracie McClatchy (Havertown, Pa. / Archbishop Carroll) who led the team with 16 goals. Senior Nicolette Keale (Wall Township, N.J. / Wall) started all 19 games last season and tallied three goals and three assists on the year, while sophomore Allie Benadon (Hillsborough, N.J. / Hillsborough) added two goals and three helpers en route to earning All-Landmark Conference Second Team honors as a midfielder.
Defensively, junior Christina Motz (Glenside, Pa. / Gwynedd Mercy Academy) highlights a unit that limited opponents to 1.18 goals per game and seven shutouts. Motz is a two-time All-Conference honoree and has started 36 games over her two seasons with the Royals.
Scranton will also add six newcomers to the roster.
The Royals open the 2019 season on Friday, Aug. 30 when Muhlenberg comes to town for a 4 p.m. contest at Weiss Field. Landmark Conference play will begin with a semifinal rematch at Catholic on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Click here to view the entire Landmark Conference preseason poll.