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    Field Hockey Tabbed as BIG EAST Favorite

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    The Huskies received five of seven possible first-place votes, for a total of 35 points.  Louisville and Providence tied for second, with 28 points and one first place vote each.  The poll is voted on by the league’s head coaches.

    Connecticut also had a pair of players voted as the favorites to garner the conference’s two highest individual honors as senior Lizzy Peijs (Venlo, Holland) was chosen as one of the BIG EAST Preseason Co-Offensive Players of the Year along with Louisville’s Janelle Avila.

    In addition, reigning BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, Jennifer Kleinhans (Mannheim, Germany), was selected as the coaches’ top choice to earn the honor for a second consecutive season.

    Peijs led the Huskies with 23 goals and 61 points last season and was the only non-senior finalist for the Honda Sports Award, which is presented to the national player of the year.  Peijs was a first-team All-America choice following her junior campaign and enters the 2007 season ranked third in goals (67), seventh in assists (35) and sixth in points (123) among UConn’s career leaders.

    Kleinhans was the anchor of UConn’s nationally-ranked defensive unit that posted 10 shutouts and allowed a scant 0.93 goals per game.  Offensively, Kleinhans tallied five goals and seven assists.

    Joining Peijs and Kleinhans on the All-BIG EAST Preseason Team are fellow Huskies Lauren Aird (Harare, Zimbabwe) and Meghan Wheeler (Canton, Mass.).

    Connecticut’s four selections to the Preseason All-BIG EAST squad were the most of any conference member.

    UConn opens the 2007 regular season schedule on Saturday, August 25 when it plays host to Maine at the George J. Sherman Sports Complex, beginning at 11:30 a.m. (ET).

    The Huskies have won a combined 18 BIG EAST Conference titles (nine regular season, nine tournament) entering 2007 and are fresh off an appearance in the 2006 NCAA National Semifinals.

    2007 BIG EAST PRESEASON POLL

                                      Points         Conf.     Overall           '06 Finish
    Connecticut
    (5)           35           4-2            21-4                 t-3rd
    Louisville (1)               28          5-1          12-8              t-1st
    Providence (1)            28          5-1          18-4              t-1st
    Syracuse                   18          2-4          10-9               5th
    Rutgers                     17          1-5          6-13               6th
    Villanova                    15          4-2          13-8              t-3rd
    Georgetown                 6           0-6          5-12               7th
    (-) – indicates first-place votes

    BIG EAST Co-Offensive Players of the Year
    Janelle Avila, Sr., F, Louisville
    Lizzy Peijs, Sr., F/M, Connecticut

    BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year
    Jennifer Kleinhans, Jr., B, Connecticut

    All-BIG EAST Preseason Team^
    Lauren Aird, Jr., F, Connecticut*
    Janelle Avila, Sr., F, Louisville*
    Allison Boris, Jr., F, Villanova
    Stephanie Campbell, Sr., B, Villanova
    Rachel Chamberlain, So., GK, Providence
    Marie-Claire Heller, Sr., GK, Louisville
    Jennifer Kleinhans, Jr., B, Connecticut*
    Amy Lewis, Jr., M, Rutgers*
    Abby Maguire, Sr., F, Providence
    Lizzy Peijs, Sr., F/M, Connecticut*
    Michalagh Stoddard, Sr., D, Providence*
    Meghan Wheeler, Jr., M, Connecticut

    ^ - An extra member was added to the All-BIG EAST Preseason Team due to a tie in voting
    * - unanimous selection