Monmouth’s Madie Gibson was voted MAAC preseason of the year for the second year in a row. (Photo courtesy of Monmouth SID)

EDISON, N.J. – The Monmouth University women were unanimous picks to claim the top spot in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this season.

Redshirt junior forward Madie Gibson was voted the MAAC preseason player of the year, while Alli DeLuca, Amanda Knaub, Anna Lazur and Lexie Palladino joined her on the preseason All-MAAC team.

The Hawks are five-time defending MAAC regular season champions and two-time defending MAAC Tournament champs.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the coaches in the league as the number one team,” head coach Krissy Turner said. “We have worked extremely hard to maintain the top spot in the MAAC. However, we are a young team and need to focus on preparing each day to improve so we can achieve the goals we have established for ourselves.”

Monmouth earned 121 points and all 11 first-place votes in the poll, followed by Quinnipiac University, which secured 99 points. Siena College was third with 96 points and Manhattan College fourth with 92 points.

Rider was slotted at fifth (78), Fairfield (57) came in at sixth, Marist (54) seventh, and Niagara (49) eighth. Canisius (41), Iona (27) and Saint Peter’s (12) rounded out the final three spots in the poll.

Gibson became the first Monmouth player to be named MAAC preseason player of the year in consecutive years after she earned first team honors in 2017. The forward scored seven goals and added nine assists for 23 points last year to increase her career totals to 19 goals, 18 assists and 56 points.

DeLuca was Monmouth’s lone senior on the team following a campaign that saw her earn first team All-MAAC honors. She is one of six returning starters. Last season’s MAAC goalkeeper of the year, Knaub, returns for her junior season in 2018 and carries a 0.80 career goals-against average. Classmate Lazur has earned All-MAAC recognition in each of her first two years (All-Rookie, second team) and has been part of 21 shutouts in 41 career games.
Rounding out Monmouth’s league-high five Preseason All-MAAC selections were junior midfielder Palladino. Palladino played her best soccer to close out last season as she scored twice and added an assist en route to MAAC All-Championship Team honors.

Monmouth kicks off its season when it hosts NJIT at Hesse Field on The Great Lawn Friday at 7 p.m.

Preseason All-MAAC Team

Forward – Alex Madden, Fairfield

Forward – Arianna Montefusco, Manhattan

Forward – Madie Gibson, Monmouth

Forward – Kelsey Goldring, Quinnipiac

Midfielder – Emma Saul, Manhattan

Midfielder – Alli Deluca, Monmouth

Midfielder – Lexie Palladino, Monmouth

Midfielder – Valeria Pascuet, Rider

Back – Nicolle Sasso, Marist

Back – Anna Lazur, Monmouth

Back – Amanda Holtzman, Siena

Goalkeeper – Amanda Knaub, Monmouth

Preseason Player of the Year: Madie Gibson, Monmouth

**-There is an extra player in the midfield due to a tie in voting.

Coaches Poll (first-place votes)

Monmouth (11) – 121

Quinnipiac – 99

Siena – 96

Manhattan – 92

Rider – 78

Fairfield – 57

Marist – 54

Niagara – 49

Canisius – 41

Iona – 27

Saint Peter’s – 12