FAIRFIELD, CT (August 16, 2012) - The Sacred Heart field hockey team was picked to finish sixth in a vote taken by the league's head coaches when the 2012 Northeast Conference Preseason Poll was announced this week. The Pioneers will open their season on Friday, August 24th playing host to the Towson Tigers on Campus Field.
The Monmouth Hawks were tabbed as the preseason favorite with four first place votes followed by two-time defending champion Rider who garnered three first place nods. Saint Francis (PA) was in third and Quinnipiac was fourth, claiming the other first place vote. Robert Morris, SHU, Bryant and Siena round out this year's poll.
Head Coach Katie Kloeckener takes the reigns of the programs full-time this fall after four years as an assistant with the program including a stint as the interim head coach in 2010. The Pioneers were 6-12 last fall and 3-4 in NEC play. Kloeckener and the Pioneers are hoping to end a three-year absence from the NEC Tournament when NEC play gets underway during the month of October. SHU will host Quinnipiac, Monmouth, Rider and Bryant in league play.
Senior Lindsay Kasten (Fair Haven, NJ) led the Pioneers with six goals in 2011 and is the team's top returning scorer after posting 15 points. Defensively, seniors Nikki Kimborowicz (Biddeford, ME) and Kim Pobutkiewicz (West Long Branch, NJ) return after earning All-NEC honors last fall. Kimborowicz made a team-best three defensive saves and had a goal with four assists while Pobutkiewicz passed out five assists in 2011.