PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have been picked fifth in the 2004 BIG EAST Conference Preseason Field Hockey poll, and senior forward Mary Szymonowicz (Piscataway, NJ) earned her first-ever nod to the Preseason All-BIG EAST team, the conference office announced today.
The Scarlet Knights received 10 points, just one shy of fourth-place Syracuse. Rutgers and Syracuse kick off the BIG EAST schedule on Friday, Sept. 17 when the Orange travel to Piscataway. Last year, Rutgers defeated Syracuse 1-0 at SU’s Coyne Field.
Defending tournament champion Boston College and runner-up Connecticut each had 23 points and three first-place votes to tie for first. Villanova, who was part of a three-way tie for the regular season title last season, finished in third place with 16 points, followed by Rutgers, Syracuse and Providence. The Huskies return BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Lauren Henderson, while Boston College boasts Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Kristen Madden.
Szymonowicz is Rutgers’ leading returning scorer after notching seven points last season (three goals, one assist). Her first goal of the season was a game-winning score to defeat Drexel, 1-0, on Sept. 23, and she added tallies against 10th-ranked Connecticut and Saint Joseph’s. A transfer who spent one season at Kent State, Szymonowicz has started all 39 games of her Rutgers career.
Guided by second-year head coach Liz Tchou, Rutgers (7-13, 2-3 BIG EAST) earned the fourth seed in last year’s BIG EAST Tournament. The Scarlet Knights return seven letterwinners and four starters this season, and kick off their campaign by hosting Georgetown on Saturday, Aug. 28.
2004 BIG EAST Conference Preseason Poll
1. Connecticut (3) 23
Boston College (3) 23
3. Villanova 16
4. Syracuse 11
5. Rutgers 10
6. Providence 7
( ) indicates first place votes
BIG EAST Preseason Awards
Offensive Player of the Year: Lauren Henderson, Connecticut, Sr., F
Defensive Player of the Year: Kristen Madden, Boston College, Jr., B
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Bronwen Kelly, Boston College, Jr., M
Kristen Madden, Boston College, Jr., B
* Sara York, Boston College, Jr., F/M
Becky Helwig, Connecticut, Jr., M
* Lauren Henderson, Connecticut, Sr., F
* Abby Ostruzka, Connecticut, Sr., B
* Laura Puddle, Connecticut, Jr., M
Mary Szymonowicz, Rutgers, Sr., F
* Vanessa Pizzulli, Villanova, Sr., B
Rory Rogers, Villanova, Jr., F
Erin Scott, Villanova, So., GK
* - unanimous selection