CHANDLER, Ariz. – The NCAA Division III field hockey season begins for Salisbury University on Friday afternoon and the Sea Gulls will enter play as the No. 3 team in the nation, as the National Field Hockey Coaches Association released its preseason coaches' poll on Tuesday.
Salisbury picked up 816 points in the poll, trailing only defending national champion Messiah College, which picked up 1,002 points and 45 first-place votes, and Tufts University, which garnered 924 points and four first-place votes.
Middlebury College (792 points and one first-place vote) and Babson College (700 points and one first place vote) round out the top five. Bowdoin College, which is ranked No. 8, picked up the final first-place vote.
Salisbury went 18-2 in the 2016 season, claiming the program's 20th Capital Athletic Conference championship and advancing to the national semifinals before falling to Tufts.
While no other CAC team appears in the top 20, both the University of Mary Washington and Christopher Newport University are receiving votes.
The Sea Gulls begin play this weekend at the Misericordia University tournament, taking on King's (Pa.) College on Friday, September 1, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
To see the NFHCA poll in its entirety, click here.