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Michael Moore / Sentinel Staff

Veronica Marques, right, was the leading scorer for the Franklin Pierce women’s soccer team last year (15 goals, 10 assists). She enters her senior season this fall, and is among eight starters and five All-NE10 players returning from last year.

After winning the Northeast-10 Conference regular season and postseason titles in 2018, and then having two alums sign professional contracts in the offseason, the Franklin Pierce women’s soccer team is projected to add even more to its legacy this fall.

The No. 14 nationally-ranked Ravens were picked to repeat as conference champs in the NE10 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was released Thursday afternoon by the league office. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

Franklin Pierce (16-2-2, 11-1-2 NE10 last year) collected seven of 14 available first-place votes and finished with 160 points, five points ahead of in-state rival Southern N.H. (14-4-3, 10-2-2), which took second with five first-place votes.

Saint Rose and Adelphi split the final two first-place votes, with Saint Rose (13-5-4, 9-3-2 NE10) finishing third with 142 points and Adelphi taking fourth at 132 points. Stonehill (13-7-0, 10-4-0 NE10) rounded out the top five with 114 points.

After last year, the Ravens saw the departure of two of its top-three scorers in Nathalia Maria da Silva (15 goals, four assists) and Bruna Tavares (seven goals, nine assists), and its top back in Marta Turmo. Both Tavares and Turmo signed with Madrid Club de Futbol Femenino (Madrid CFF) in the Spanish Primera Division, one of the biggest women’s soccer leagues in the world.

But Franklin Pierce still returns most of last year’s starters, led by United Soccer Coaches All-America first-teamer, NE10 Player of the Year and rising senior forward Veronica Marques (15 goals, 10 assists). Other top returners include All-NE10 first teamer and rising senior midfielder Gabi Pereira (six goals, six assists), all-conference second teamer and rising junior back Evaline Rodrigues, and two members of last year’s All-NE10 Rookie Team: goalkeeper Casey Kane (0.94 goals against average, .734 save percentage) and midfielder Jessica Magerman.

These players will once again be playing for last year’s NE10 Coach of the Year Jonathan Garbar, who returns for his third year after leading the Ravens to back-to-back appearances in the conference championship and two straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Franklin Pierce opens the new season at home on Friday, Sept. 6, at 4 p.m. against Nyack. The NE10 slate begins eight days later with a home match against Southern Connecticut State on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m.