Mass. College Hockey: Amherst Women’s Hockey Tops ‘Noontime Top 5’ Week 1

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Amherst College women’s ice hockey team highlights our Week One ‘Top-5’ Women’s Hockey poll as the NCAA Division III 2015-16 season commences this week.

The Jeffs concluded their season in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) semis, falling to Trinity College (Conn.), which advanced to the NCAA Tournament following their conference championship victory against Middlebury College.

PROGRAM NOTE: As noted in our men’s ice hockey top-5 poll (week one) earlier today, we encourage all fans to send us their top-5 picks every Monday on Twitter: @NoontimeSports

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1. Amherst College: The Jeffs concluded their 2014-15 season by finishing second in the NESCAC with 17 overall wins, including 13 conference victories. Trinity managed to outlast the Jeffs down the stretch, defeating them in two of three meetings, while the initial contest concluded in a one-goal tie. Amherst will rely on sophomore Brenna Sullivan this winter after she posted 11 goals and six assists in 23 games. Classmate Alex Toupal will also be a key player on offense after she finished her first-season with eight goals and 10 assists. Amherst returns a trio of goaltender, including sophomore Sabrina Dobbins, who ranked first in the NESCAC in goals allowed (14) and goals against average (1.33). Amherst kicks-off its 2015-16 campaign on Friday, November 20 when they travel to Connecticut College for a 7:00 p.m. start.

2. Williams College: The Ephs posted just one victory in the month of February, defeating Connecticut College, 1-0, on the road, while dropping a quartet of games down the stretch, including a pair to Middlebury. Williams will certainly be on the rebound this season, kicking-off their campaign on Friday, November 20 when they host Hamilton College at 7:00 p.m. Juniors Hanna Beattie and Sara Lehman will be counted on to guide the Ephs’ offense after the pair paced the squad with 16 and 11 points, respectively. Additionally, junior Emily Krueger returns after scoring five goals and setting-up six markers. Sophomore Christina Cleroux should be spotted between the pipes after competing in 16 games last winter.

3. Holy Cross: It was an exciting season for the Crusaders, which captured their fifth ECAC Open Title with a 4-1 victory over Franklin Pierce at the end of February. It was the program’s first championship since claiming the crown at the conclusion of the 2011 season. This season, the Crusaders will be without Mary Klimasewiski and Nicole Giannino – two graduating losses – but do return sophomore Kara Violette, who paced Holy Cross with 31 points on 14 goals and 17 assists. Expect sophomore Siobhan Burke to be the team’s top goaltender, however, keep an eye on freshman Alex Barnes. Holy Cross begins its season on Friday, October 30 with a 7:05 p.m. contest against Sacred Heart.

4. UMass Boston: First-year head coach Lindsay Berman will look to lead the Beacons to a pair of weekend victories against William-Smith, beginning with a 7:30 p.m. matchup on Friday, October 30. Berman is no stranger to UMass Boston women’s ice hockey, joining the program as an assistant prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, so her experience will certainly help, especially with strengthening a defense that returns a trio of players from last winter’s squad. Senior Samantha Fallon should be the leader of the offense following her 14 point (eight goals, six assists) effort last season. Additionally, keep an eye on sophomore Jane Morrisette to light the lamp on offense after tallying five goals and nine assists in her first season with the program. UMass Boston has a trio of goaltenders, so expect all three to record minutes between the pipes this season.

5. Endicott College: Andy McPhee and the Gulls commence their initial season of varsity hockey on Friday, October 30 when they take on Plymouth State University in the Puck Drop Classic. Endicott will host its first-ever varsity game the following Saturday, November 7 against Johnson & Wales (R.I.) at 4:00 p.m. The Gulls schedule features some impressive contests against Trinity, Becker College and Salem State University – both programs are first-year varsity teams – and UMass Boston at the annual Codfish Bowl on January 2 and 3.

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