Division I poll

Women's Lacrosse Preview

March 01, 2001|By Katherine Dunn

Division I poll

A capsule look at the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association Top 20, with last year's record in parentheses.

1. Maryland (21-1): A unanimous preseason No. 1 choice, the Terrapins have some rebuilding to do, but that hasn't stopped them any time recently. Can anybody finally dethrone the Terps? Unlikely.

2. Princeton (15-4): The greatest threat to the Terps' dynasty, the Tigers have grown from a surprising young team into a potentially lethal veteran group. National Coach of the Year Chris Sailer reached the national title game with eight starting underclassmen last season. All but three starters return, including the top three scorers - Kim Smith (Bryn Mawr, 47 goals, 10 assists), Lauren Simone (46, 11) and Julie Shaner (31, 13).

3. Georgetown (12-5): The Hoyas boast one of Division I's most explosive attacks behind All-Americans Sheehan Stanwick (Notre Dame Prep, 53, 19) and Erin Elbe (46, 19). However, overall experience makes them the favorite for the inaugural Big East tournament as well as a Final Four berth.

4. Duke (11-6): The Blue Devils return nine starters, including All-American Kate Kaiser (Notre Dame Prep, 41, 5), Kate Soulier (22, 19), Kelly Dirks (Annapolis, 28, 9). That experience could take them past last year's Elite Eight finish.

5. North Carolina (12-6): Last year's ACC regular-season champs, the Tar Heels bring back four of their top five scorers and are looking to improve on last season's NCAA quarterfinal finish. Leading the way: Kellie Thompson (St. Mary's, 36, 20), defender Porter Wilkinson and ACC Rookie of the Year Betsy Gaines (Roland Park, 19, 7).

6. Loyola (16-5): NCAA tournament semifinalists a year ago, the Greyhounds bolster an already strong corps with several key players returning from injury. Look for them to make another Final Four run if everyone stays healthy.

7. Virginia (13-6): The Cavaliers' defense took a hit from graduation, losing three All-Americans. The inexperience in the back will be balanced by a loaded attack that returns five of the top six scorers, including Jamie Haas (23, 12), Mills Hook (St. Paul's, 21, 7) and Lauren Aumiller (Notre Dame Prep, 18, 8).

8. James Madison (13-5): Youngsters have their chance to shine after the Dukes graduated seven starters, including four All-Americans. The Dukes will be strongest in the midfield with Kristen Dinisio (Centennial, 29 goals, 6 assists), Michele Zurfluh (St. Mary's, 13, 11) and Lisa Staedt (20, 8) Two-time All-Colonial Athletic Conference goalie Jen Corradini (St. Mary's) also returns.

9. Syracuse (12-4): A fast-rising program in just its fourth season, the Orangewomen return 23 players from a team that fell to Georgetown, 11-10, in the NCAA tournament opener.

10. Boston University (15-4): The America East Conference champs have a solid foundation from last year's team that set a record for wins in a season and reached the NCAA tournament. Chrissy Lombard (Mount Hebron, 44, 21) is already the Terriers' all-time leading scorer.

11. Dartmouth (11-5): The Ivy League champs struggled with injuries last season and came up short of their potential. Although the Big Green graduated much of its explosive attack, considerable experience returns -- especially on a defense led by All-America goalie Sarah Hughes.

12. Delaware (13-5): The Blue Hens try to rebound from a disappointing finish after starting 8-0 last season. They graduated several key contributors but return a strong foundation led by Megan Fortunato (31, 25), Kate O'Connell (Mount de Sales, 35, 8), Claire Marrazzo and Katy Hahn.

13. Vanderbilt (10-6): Coming off the best season in their five-year history, the Commodores are shooting for their first NCAA tournament bid after a narrow miss last season. Another extremely young team, the Commodores will look to veterans April Tellem (28, 17) and Liz Drennan (19, 16).

14. Penn State (8-9): Severn graduate Suzanne Weinberg takes over a young Nittany Lions team that graduated most of its statistics with four players. However, the Lions return many veterans, including goalie Megan Ames, and have brought in a considerable amount of new talent.

15. Cornell (13-4): The Big Red lost just one starter and returns everyone on attack. The top nine scorers are back, including Lori Wohlschlegel (39, 23) and Jaimee Reynolds (Towson, 40, 14). That experience could help it make a run at Princeton and Dartmouth in the Ivy League race.

16. Yale (11-5): The Bulldogs plan to celebrate their 25th anniversary by contending for the Ivy League title. Few veterans return but there are plenty of promising youngsters among the 22 underclassmen - a formula Princeton used to reach the national collegiate final last year. Megan Strenski and goalie Amanda Sisley lead a solid defense.

17. Johns Hopkins (12-6): The Blue Jays should continue their rise in Division I with a lineup of tested veterans and a tougher schedule - a combination that could potentially produce an NCAA tournament bid.

18. George Mason (7-9): The Patriots have just two seniors on the roster and graduated five of their top seven scorers, but some young talent should keep them vying for an NCAA tournament bid. Key veterans include Katie Keegan (18, 11), Jill Toomey (Broadneck, 27, 12) and goalie Jamie Tiburzi (Fallston).

19. William & Mary (6-9): After a transition season last year, the Tribe could make a move back toward the top of the Colonial Athletic Conference with 10 returning starters. The Tribe will look to Tara Hannaford (43, 9) and Lindsay Lowman (Southern-AA, 29, 22) on attack, while Kim Fabel and goalie Abby Pheiffer (Annapolis) anchor the defense.

20. Rutgers (7-8): The Scarlet Knights will rely on a talented group of youngsters as they vie for the first Big East Conference title. Former Annapolis teammates Torey Hunter and goalie Lauren Gulotta lead a rebuilding defense. Jill Penrose (26 goals) is the top scorer back.

Also receiving votes: Massachussets, Old Dominion.

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