MAC field hockey preseason coaches' poll (2014 Record)

1) Kent State (11-11)

2) Miami (7-12)

3) Ohio (6-11) and Central Michigan (7-12) 

5) Ball State (5-11)

6) Missouri State (3-15)

7) Longwood (6-12)

“Rankings are interesting, especially the preseason ones,” head coach Sally Northcroft said. “It's really hard to tell from one year to the next which teams are going to slip up after a summer and how they’ve done in the spring.”

Junior forward, Lexi Kavanaugh, feels that being ranked fifth doesn’t take away from the team’s mindset.

“Being ranked right now doesn’t really mean anything, because rankings change all the time,” Kavanaugh said.

Rankings may change; however, the Cardinals were projected to finish sixth in last year's preseason polls and ended up doing so after compiling a 1-5 Mid-American Conference record within their upsetting 5-11 overall record.

Last year's MAC champion and Sweet Sixteen participant Kent State is selected to finish first in the the MAC this season. They also are favorites to repeat as conference tournament champions. Despite losing six players, the Golden Flashes have 14 returning, 11 of which saw starting action last year.

Under Northcroft's leadership and the addition of seven new freshmen, the Cardinals are looking for a fresh start in 2015.

“It’s definitely a clean slate, and I know that Kent will feel the same way,” Northcroft said. “You start every year, and rankings are just that—they’re just a number.”

Northcroft feels that the Golden Flashes’ play of recent years have put the nation on notice, not only for the university, but for the MAC.

“If anything, it just makes the conference even stronger knowing that we have to go up against someone like Kent State,” Northcroft said. 

The Cardinals haven't focused too much of their attention on Kent State, as they are finalizing their preparation for the season opener on Aug. 29 at Rutgers.

The team is excited for the trip, as they feel that flying to New Jersey will add a positive dynamic to the team's opening weekend.

“I know that we’re all very excited,” redshirt senior Bianca Velez said. “A lot of us are from the east coast, so a lot of our families will be there. It’s just a really exciting weekend that everyone is ready for.”

Aside from the excitement of the trip, business will need to be taken care of for the Cardinals to ensure victory.

“Communication is key,” junior goalkeeper Jordan Dues said. “We need to be there for each other and tell each other, ‘I got your back.’”

The Cardinals leave for New Jersey Aug. 28  with the game starting at noon Aug. 29.