Notre Dame and West Virginia women get nod in Big East

Notre Dame, the 2006 NCAA Division I women's runner-up, and West Virginia have been tabbed as division favorites in the 2007 Big East preseason women's poll.

The Irish received all 15 first-place votes and were picked to win the National Division, while the Mountaineers were picked to win the American Division. Both programs also won their respective division titles last year. The votes were cast by the league's 16 head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players or teams.

The Irish, who have been picked to win the league in each of the last 13 consecutive years since 1995 when they joined the Big East, will be led by 2006 Hermann Trophy winner Kerri Hanks, who was selected as the unanimous Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Last season she scored 22 goals (No. 8 nationally) and had 22 assists (No. 2 nationally).

Carrie Dew, the 2006 Defensive Player of the Year, is the Big East Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Irish senior Amanda Cinalli, junior Brittany Bock and sophomore Michele Weissenhofer also were all-conference preseason choices giving Notre Dame five selections, the most of any team.

West Virginia was singled out to win the American Division garnering 10 first-place votes. The Mountaineers, who narrowly edged out Connecticut, boast two preseason all-conference selections in juniors Deana Everrett and Amanda Cicchini, who formed a potent scoring attack totaling 28 goals and 69 points in 2006.

Villanova senior goalkeeper Jillian Loyden was selected as the Big East Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year for the second consecutive year.

NEW IN 2007. The conference also welcomes three head coaches to the league as Kazbek Tambi takes over the Seton Hall program and Denise Schilte-Brown handles the reigns at USF. Erin Chastain at DePaul also will be making her BIG EAST coaching debut.

BIG EAST PRESEASON POLL:
American
1. West Virginia (10)
2. Connecticut (6)
3. Marquette
4. St. John's
5. Pittsburgh
5. USF
7. Syracuse
8. Providence

National
1. Notre Dame (15)
2. Rutgers (1)
3. Villanova
4. Louisville
5. Georgetown
6. Seton Hall
7. Cincinnati
8. DePaul
(First-place votes in parentheses.)

BIG EAST PRESEASON AWARDS:
Offensive Player of the Year
*Kerri Hanks, Jr., F, Notre Dame
Defensive Player of the Year
Carrie Dew, Jr., D, Notre Dame
Goalkeeper of the Year
Jillian Loyden, Sr., GK, Villanova
All-Conference Team
Brittany Bock, Jr., M/F, Notre Dame
Amanda Cicchini, Jr., M, West Virginia
Amanda Cinalli, Sr., F, Notre Dame
Gina DeMaio, So., M, Rutgers
Carrie Dew, Jr., D, Notre Dame
Kelly Eagan, So., D, Villanova
Deana Everrett, Jr., F, West Virginia
Monique Gjini, Sr., M, Louisville
*Kerri Hanks, Jr., F, Notre Dame
Jillian Loyden, Sr., GK, Villanova
*Meghan Schnur, Sr., M, Connecticut
Brittany Taylor, Jr., M, Connecticut
Michele Weissenhofer, So., F, Notre Dame

Next story loading loading..