Two-Time Champion SUNY Poly Earns Top Spot in 2017-18 NEAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

Two-Time Champion SUNY Poly Earns Top Spot in 2017-18 NEAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – After claiming back-to-back conference crowns, SUNY Poly has received the No. 1 ranking in the 2017-18 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) women’s basketball preseason poll.  

While SUNY Poly and Lancaster Bible each received 160 points, the Wildcats received eight first-place votes to be deemed the top-ranked team. SUNY Poly returns seven players from the 2016-17 squad that went 26-3 overall. Senior forward Khristaijah Jackson (Levittown, Pa.) returns as the top offensive threat after averaging 18 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season to earn NEAC All-Conference First Team accolades. Senior Paige Gallo (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) is also expected to log significant minutes on the court in the upcoming season. Head coach Jessica Skelton returns to lead the Wildcats for her 14th season and has lined up non-conference matchups against Utica, SUNY Cortland and Hamilton for her squad. 

Sophomore Caitlin Hickey returns to Lancaster Bible.

Lancaster Bible follows at No. 2 in the preseason poll with five first-place votes with two of the league’s top players returning for 2017-18. Junior Courtney Goyak (Beecher, Wis.) is fresh off NEAC All-Conference First Team honors after averaging a double-double with 18.1 points and 21.3 rebounds per game. Reigning NEAC Rookie of the Year Caitlin Hickey (Lancaster, Pa.) will look to build upon her strong debut where she scored 20 or more points in 10 games for the Chargers. Katelyn Vanderhoff returns for her third season as head coach and will throw her team into the fire early against non-league  opponents Eastern Mennonite and Messiah.

With the final first-place vote, Morrisville State College received 144 points to place third in the coaches’ rankings after advancing to the 2016-17 NEAC Finals. All-NEAC Third Team honoree Haley Kilmartin (Fort Plain, N.Y.) will lead a strong offensive group in 2017-18. Kilmartin earned all-conference recognition after averaging 13.6 points per game last season. The Mustangs will also be joined by a solid group of newcomers, including Alexis Campbell (Buffalo, N.Y.) who was a 1,000-point scorer in high school. Morrisville State head coach Erin Skaradek expects to showcase more depth with this group than in previous seasons. 

Keuka College and Penn State Abington also landed in a tie with 115 total points. Keuka College secured the No. 4 spot in the preseason poll with one second-place vote. New coach Gary Broadhurst will lean on a core group of 10 returners to lead the way after the Wolves posted a 14-10 record last season. Returners Lauren Anten (Rochester, N.Y.) and Sam Laranjo (Averill Park, N.Y.) will serve as key pieces after scoring an average of 12.5 and 8.2 points per game, respectively, in 2016-17. 

Rounding out the top five, Penn State Abington will look to improve upon its 12-14 overall record from last season with five newcomers adding to the team’s depth. Head Coach Shayla Johnson expects junior guard Shayna Rodriguez (Philadelphia, Pa.) to serve as a key contributor after averaging 18.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game last season en route to All-NEAC Second Team honors.

The full 2017-18 women’s basketball preseason rankings can be found below:

Rank Institution (First-Place Votes) Total Points
1. SUNY Poly (8)* 160
2. Lancaster Bible (5)* 160
3. Morrisville State College (1) 144
4. Keuka College* 115
5. Penn State Abington* 115
6. SUNY Cobleskill 94
7. Bryn Athyn College 90
8. Wells College 87
9. College of Saint Elizabeth 83
10. Cazenovia College 65
11. Gallaudet University 63
12. Penn State Berks 48
13. Penn College 27
14. Wilson College 23

*Tie broken by higher ordinal number points

The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the NEAC women’s basketball coaches, with each coach ranking all teams but their own using a staggered points system (13 points for a first-place vote, 12 points for second, etc.). The 2017-18 NEAC women’s basketball season will begin tonight, Nov. 15, with a full season schedule being available on the NEAC website

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s tennis. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.