CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The University of Maine field hockey team has been selected third in the America East preseason poll, as announced by the conference on Friday morning, according to a UMaine press release.

Boston University was selected to win the conference as it received 23 total votes and three-first place tallies. The Albany Great Danes, who garnered 22 total votes and three first-place votes, were picked second and Maine (16) was selected third.

New Hampshire was picked fourth, followed by Fairfield in fifth and Vermont in sixth.

The top four teams will advance to the America East championship, hosted by the top seed, Nov. 2-4, with the champ receiving an automatic berth to the NCAA tourney.

The Black Bears enter the season coming off a 16-4 finish a year ago, their best finish since 1996, and third place in America East.

Maine returns 11 players from that 2011 squad. A season after the team led the nation with 3.45 goals per game, last year’s America East Co-Rookie of the Year, Holly Stewart, returns as Maine’s top individual scorer (12 goals, six assists). Senior captain Zoe Adkins (5 and 11) and assistant captains Annabelle Hamilton (5 and 6) and Zoe Berkey (2 and 1) return to provide solid leadership.

Head coach Josette Babineau returns for her sixth season and has added eight freshman to bolster the squad.

The Black Bears begin the season with a pair of home contests starting with an Aug. 25 showdown with Boston College at 1 p.m. before hosting Michigan State at noon Aug. 26.

Saint Joseph’s lacrosse coach resigns

Anna Gordon has stepped down from her position as the head coach of the women’s lacrosse program at Saint Joseph’s College, the school announced in a press release Friday.

Gordon is leaving the college coaching ranks to pursue a master’s degree in school counseling.

Gordon has been with the Monks’ lacrosse program since the team assumed NCAA DIII varsity sport status in 2008. She served as a co-head coach, along with current field hockey head coach Rupert Lewis, in 2008 and 2009 before accepting sole leadership of the program in 2010.

In three years as the Monks’ head coach, Gordon posted a 23-17-1 record, including a 14-11 mark in Great Northeast Athletic Conference, and guided the team to a pair of GNAC tourney berths.

Saint Joseph’s wins Commissioner’s Cup

Saint Joseph’s College has been awarded the 2012 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Men’s Commissioner’s Cup. The high conference honor is a first for Saint Joseph’s in five years as a GNAC member.

The GNAC Commissioner’s Cup is awarded annually to the member institutions with the highest number of points, in both men’s and women’s sports collectively, received from winning conference championships and conference tournament placement.

Driven by championships won by the Monks’ men’s soccer and baseball programs as well as a GNAC tourney semifinal appearance by the SJC men’s basketball team, Saint Joseph’s tallied 19 points and shares the Men’s Commissioner’s Cup honor with Johnson & Wales University.