EDISON, NJ - The Iona College women's water polo team swept the 2012 MAAC preseason polls, earning the distinction of having the top team and Co-Players of the Year as determined by the league's seven head coaches. Senior Cecilia Leonard and sophomore Amy Olsen headline the Preseason All-MAAC Team as the 2012 MAAC Water Polo Co-Preseason Players of the Year.
Leonard, a 2011 All-MAAC First Team selection, tallied 124 points (60g, 64a) last season.
"I'm very excited to share this honor with Amy," said Leonard. "I know how hard she's worked since getting to Iona and what a talented player she is. Together we hope to have a great season and successfully defend out MAAC Championship."
Olsen, the 2011 MAAC Rookie of the Year, registered 68 goals and 19 assists as a freshman for the Gaels.
"I'm very proud of the team's work this preseason and the recognition of my teammates as Preseason All-MAAC performers," said Olsen. "This honor provides me with more motivation because it shows what's expected of me every time I head into the pool."
Iona, which captured its first title since 2004 and first-ever NCAA Championship appearance, earned 48 points in the preseason poll. Iona went a perfect 10-0 in conference matches last season and 26-10 overall. Head Coach Brian Kelly will be looking to steer the Gaels to a second-consecutive MAAC Championship and NCAA berth.
"It's nice to see the team recognized by the other MAAC coaches as the team to beat this year, said Kelly. "It's something we are definitely going to embrace. Being the preseason number one doesn't make anything easier, just that much more difficult and it motivates us to be at our best at all times."
"From the first seed to the seventh, the MAAC is a tough league and when you play the conference schedule the MAAC has to offer, seeds go right out the window."
Wagner finished second in the poll with 40 points, with Marist a close third with 38. St. Francis (N.Y.) came in fourth with 24 points, followed by Siena in fifth with 20 points. Villanova (18) and VMI (8) finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
Leonard and Olsen were named to the Preseason All-MAAC Team along with Marist’s Desiree Desaulniers, Regina Toth of St. Francis (N.Y.), and Wagner's Lauren French and Chelsea Beck. Iona’s Marisa Gaynor was the preseason selection for goalkeeper.
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