By Justin Sweitzer
Coaches throughout the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference once again voted in annual preseason polls where PSAC coaches predict which teams they believe to be best suited for success within the conference.
KU managed to crack the top ten in every sport surveyed, including football, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey and women’s soccer.
KU women’s soccer was ranked fifth out of 17 teams taken into consideration for the 2016 poll.
League coaches see the team reaching the conference playoff tournament for the ninth straight year, following their 2015 season in which they racked up 11 wins and only six losses.
Ahead of the Golden Bears is Gannon University at four, Slippery Rock University at three, East Stroudsburg University at two and West Chester University taking the number one spot in the soccer poll.
Additionally, Golden Bear field hockey was ranked fifth within the conference, which featured 11 total teams. KU field hockey reached the playoffs last season after tallying 12 wins on the season. The projection is a testament to the strength of KU’s field hockey program, as the team lost 2015 PSAC Athlete of the Year, Anna Behm, to graduation.
Four upperclassmen will look to lead the team to further success as seniors Megan Tiwold and Courtney Ueberroth, as well as juniors Chardonnay Hope and Courtney Konowal, will captain the team this year.
Women’s and men’s cross country were ranked seventh and sixth in their respective polls. The seventh place ranking for the women places KU among the upper half of their competition, despite the lack of upperclassmen that the program faces.
Just three upperclassmen remain on the team, two of them captaining the team this season. The squad will lean heavily on the strength of their underclassmen, with Stephanie Bresadola and Amanda Ferraro looking to continue upon the success they found in their rookie seasons.
The men’s sixth place ranking comes after the Golden Bears finished sixth in last year’s PSAC championship, predicting a similar amount of success for KU in 2016.
Representing the men’s cross country as captain in 2016 will be redshirt-senior Brian Taylor, senior CJ Bauer and junior Steve Maine. Maine looks to improve upon his impressive sophomore season, in which he finished 14th at the PSAC championships, and even had an impressive time at the NCAA championships.
KU football was picked to finish fourth among the eight teams that make up the PSAC Eastern Division.
The pick comes after KU finished with seven wins and four losses on the gridiron in 2015, winning five PSAC East games and losing two.
Ahead of KU in the Eastern Division is Bloomsburg at three, Shippensburg at two and West Chester University at one, giving KU motivation as they look to defy the expectations set by coaches throughout the conference and give their fellow PASSHE rivals a run for their money.