Loyola (Md.), which captured the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference women's soccer championship last year, has been picked to win the conference crown this season in a preseason poll voted on by the league's 10 head coaches.
Loyola finished with 97 points in the poll, just five points ahead of than second-place Fairfield. Marist was picked third with 77 points, and Niagara was fourth with 58 points. Siena placed fifth (55), followed by Iona (51), Manhattan (47), Rider (33), Canisius (26) and St. Peter's (14).
Fairfield's Pamela Cluff (Kingston, MA), who was named MAAC Player of the Year in 1999 and 2000, has been selected as the 2001 MAAC Preseason Player of the Year. Cluff ranked fourth in the league in scoring last year, as she registered eight goals and four assists for a total of 20 points.
Five of the MAAC's 10 schools are represented on the Preseason All-MAAC Team, including four players from Loyola.
The forwards include Fairfield's JulieAnne Forman (Massapequa Park, NY), Loyola's Naura Groarke (Rockville Centre, NY) and Niagara's Rosie Luzak (Lewiston, NY).
Joining Cluff in the midfield are fellow Stag Maureen Miller (East Rockaway, NY) and Loyola's Katie Elliott (Ellicott City, MD). The backs are anchored by Fairfield's Erin Porter (N. Vancouver, British Columbia), Iona's Renee Eger (Lindenhurst, NY), Marist's Jenny Shanks (Sound Beach, NY), and Loyola's Audra Garuccio (Northport, NY) and Annie DiPalo (East Northport, NY). Marist's Mellanie Nai (Suffield, CT) rounds out the team at the goalkeeper position.
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