For the third time in the last four seasons, the Stags’ women’s soccer team was picked to finish second in the MAAC Preseason Poll. Fairfield, who has reached the MAAC Championship Match in two-straight seasons, was picked just one spot behind Monmouth, the defending MAAC Regular Season Champions. It is the fourth consecutive year that Fairfield has been chosen in the top two spots in the poll, after being picked to win it all in 2013. Senior Karolyn Collins and junior Anna Borea both were selected to the Preseason All-MAAC squad, representing the defensive backs. Fairfield received three first place votes.

“I think it’s appropriate as Monmouth is a solid program,” Head Coach Jim O'Brien said. “In my opinion they deserve the number one ranking. It is continuing to be a great rivalry and we look forward to hopefully proving the rest of the league wrong.”

The Stags have been chosen in the top two spots in each of the last four seasons, but this year showed just how much respect the league coaches have for the program. Fairfield graduated six starters and nine contributing athletes, including their First-Team All-MAAC goalkeeper, the 2013 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, their All-Conference central midfielder, and their second leading scorer. Despite those losses and a new team that will include 13 newcomers, the Stags were still thought highly enough to be chosen second.

“It’s a great honor to have the respect of my peers,” Coach O’Brien said. “I think it also proves that we are able to put forth a consistent product. Even though we lost so many significant players, we have the ability to regroup very quickly.”

The Stags were helped last year by a variety of players including Collins and Borea. Collins, a co-captain of the team, had a monstrous end of the season notching two goals and two assists in the final four games. Collins, who is arguably one of the most athletic players in the conference, had her success playing out wide and scored the game-tying goal in the MAAC Championship Match. Borea has developed into one of the best defenders in the conference, playing almost every minute last season. Borea helped the Stags to a 0.82 goals against average, which ranked second in the conference.

“Karolyn is growing and developing into one of the top players in the league,” O’Brien said. “She had an outstanding year last year in particular within our conference. She’s definitely highly thought of among the coaches in the MAAC. And Anna is, in my opinion, arguably the best defender in our league.”

Monmouth racked up 117 points to garner the top spot, as the Hawks return seven of their nine All-MAAC selections. Fairfield tallied 105 points, edging out the defending champions Rider who had 103. Niagara (78), Siena (71), Manhattan (54), Iona (52), Canisius (49), Quinnipiac (44), Marist (37), and Saint Peter’s (16) rounded out the rest of the selections.

The reigning MAAC Offensive Player of the Year, Rider’s Tara Ballay, was chosen as the Preseason Player of the Year.

The Stags begin their season on August 21, as they travel to participate in the Maine Black Bears Tournament, starting with a match against the host squad Maine at 7pm.