CHANDLER, Ariz. – The Salisbury University field hockey team will open its 2013 campaign on Friday afternoon at the Colonel Classic hosted by Wilkes University and the Sea Gulls will begin as the No. 5 team in the nation.
The National Field Hockey Coaches Association released its preseason coaches' poll on Tuesday and the Gulls received 689 points.
Defending national champion, Tufts University, garnered 29 first-place votes and 895 points, and will be the top-ranked team to open the season, followed by Montclair State University (840 points, four first place-votes), Middlebury College (748 points, nine first-place votes) and Bowdoin College (741 points, five first-place votes). The College of New Jersey, which will begin the season ranked No. 12 with 408 points, was the only other team to receive a first-place vote.
Salisbury is one of three Capital Athletic Conference teams ranked in the top 10 to open the year, followed by the University of Mary Washington at No. 6, with 667 points, and CAC newcomer Christopher Newport University, ranked No. 9 with 441 points.
Salisbury finished the 2012 campaign with a 15-3 record, being eliminated in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Following this weekend's Colonel Classic, Salisbury will return home to host the SU Invitational on Sept. 7 and 8 at Sea Gull Stadium.
To see the entire NFHCA poll, click here. The first regular season poll will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 10.