(in order of predicted finish)
2009-10 record: 30-3-3, 14-1-1 CHA
Coach: Michael Sisti, 12th season (281-78-26)
Players to watch: Sr. F Meghan Agosta (41-37-78 in 2008-09), Jr. G Hillary Pattenden (29-3-3 record, 1.60 goals-against average, .921 save percentage, 3 shutouts in 2009-10), Sr. F Vicki Bendus (28-37-65), Sr. F Jesse Scanzano (20-45-65), Jr. F Bailey Bram (29-27-56)
Outlook: Agosta, who took last season off to prepare for her native Canada’s run to Olympic gold in Vancouver, rejoins a team that returns 18-0f-20 players. A ninth straight conference title is a certainty. With the NCAA Division I Women’s Frozen Four set for Tullio Arena in March, the program’s first national title is within reach, too.
2009-10 record: 18-17-1, 8-8-0 CHA
Coach: Paul Flanagan, 3rd season (27-33-4)
Players to watch: So. F Isabel Menard (15-22-37), Sr. F Stefanie Marty (16-15-31), So. F Holly Carrie-Mattimoe (9-18-27), Sr. D Ashley Cockell (21-22-43 with Mercyhurst), Sr. F Julie Rising (16-15-31)
Outlook: The third-year Orange return 14 players from a team that posted the first winning record in program history and reached the conference championship game. They also added Cockell, a Mercyhurst transfer who finished fifth on the Lakers in scoring last season.
Wayne State Warriors
2009-10 record: 9-18-4, 5-10-1 CHA
Coach: Jim Fetter, 7th season (109-102-22)
Players to watch: Jr. F Alyssa Baldin (9-11-20), So. F Julie Ingratta (6-9-15), F Gina Buquet (6-8-14), Jr. D Jill Szandzik (3-9-12), G Delayne Brian (5-10-3, 2.52, .912)
Outlook: Fetter, a Mercyhurst assistant under Sisti from 2000-03, leads a team with 17 returnees into what should be a rebound season for the Warriors.
Niagara Purple Eagles
2009-10 record: 12-14-5, 7-6-3 CHA
Coach: Chris MacKenzie, 1st season (0-0)
Players to watch: Sr. G Jenni Bauer (12-14-5, 2.25, .915), So. Jenna Hendrikx (14-10-24), So. F Kathleen Bortuzzo (3-8-11), Jr. F Caitlin Jenkins (5-5-10)
Outlook: MacKenzie, a former standout on the men’s team who graduated in 2000, is the second coach in program history. He spent the past eight seasons as an assistant at UMass-Lowell.
Robert Morris Colonials
2009-10 record: 11-24-1, 3-12-1 CHA
Coach: Nate Handrahan, 5th season (46-88-7)
Players to watch: Jr. F Brianna Delaney (14-17-31), Sr. F Sara O’Malley (18-12-30), Sr. F Maria Stoa (3-15-18), So. F Jennifer Kindret (9-8-17), Sr. G Daneca Butterfield (9-17-1, 3.02, .901, 2 SO)
Outlook: The Colonials have a veteran team back this season, led by Delaney and Butterfield. But they have much ground to make up in the conference.
- Victor Fernandes