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Plattsburgh Begins Season at No. 4 in Preseason National Rankings

MINNEAPOLIS - The Plattsburgh State women's hockey team is nationally ranked in the No. 4 spot in the NCAA Division III preseason poll released Monday by U.S. College Hockey Online. The Cardinals received 91 points after finishing third in the final poll of 2008-2009.  Click Here for the Complete USCHO.com Poll: http://www.uscho.com/rankings/.

Defending champion Amherst is No. 1 with 135 points, including 11 first-place votes. Elmira and Gustavus Adolphus rank 2-3 with 115 and 112 points, respectively. The latter Gusties, who were given two first-place votes, were the year-end No. 1 in 2009.

Today's announcement puts Plattsburgh in unfamiliar territory in recent memory as the No. 4-ranking marks the lowest appearance in the preseason poll since it was fifth on Oct. 27, 2003. Other past preseason rankings are No. 1 in 2008-09 (15 1st-place votes, 150 points), No. 1 in 2007-08 (11, 110), No. 2 in 2006-07 (4, 120), No. 3 in 2005-06 (0, 108), No. 2 in 2004-05 (2, 110), No. 5 in 2003-04 (0, 68), No. 7 in 2002-03 (0, 36) and "receiving votes" (1 point) category in 2001-02, the first year of women's hockey at Plattsburgh.

For the Cardinals, they return 15 players off last year's squad that went 22-5-2 overall, 15-3 in conference play for third place and made the NCAA tournament for the sixth straight time. The program has won two of the last three NCAA championships and finished in first place in the Eastern College Athletic Conference West Division in five of the past six seasons. Kevin Houle enters his seventh season at the helm and is the NCAA's all-Divisions winningest active coach with an .838 winning percentage on a 143-24-9 career record. Senior forward Stephanie Moberg was an AHCA All-America First Team selection in 2009, racking up career highs of 18 goals and 39 points to lead the Cardinals in both categories. Besides Moberg, senior forward Laurie Bowler will serve as 2010 team captains; Bowler had 14+13=27 scoring totals a season ago.

ECAC West opponent Rochester Tech was predicted to finish ahead of Plattsburgh in the annual conference coaches' preseason poll, but the sixth-ranked Tigers trailed the Cardinals in the USCHO.com ratings.

Plattsburgh hosts the Nepean Wildcats in an exhibition game at 1:15 p.m. Sunday, and kicks off the 2009-10 campaign officially on Nov. 14-15 at conference foe Chatham

The USCHO.com poll is compiled weekly and consists of 15 voters, including 12 coaches of Division III programs and three women's hockey writers.

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