Division I Poll

Women's Lacrosse Preview

February 28, 2002|By Katherine Dunn

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

1. Maryland (23-0, No. 1): Eight starters graduated and the vultures are circling the seven-time defending national champs. The Terps haven't appeared this vulnerable since 1998, when they lost seven starters, lost their first two games, and went on to win the national championship.

2. Princeton (14-5, No. 5): With almost everybody back, look for the Tigers to rebound from last year's 14-7 semifinal loss to Maryland. The Tigers boast a balanced attack led by All-Americans Kim Smith (Bryn Mawr, 36 goals, 6 assists) and Julie Shaner (20, 20).

3. Duke (15-4, No. 2): Even with All-America midfielder Kate Kaiser sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the Blue Devils should make a run at their first national title. They return two other All-Americans, leading scorer Lauren Gallagher (42, 15) and goalie Kristen Foster (Mount Hebron).

4. Georgetown (17-3, No. 3): Coming off their best season ever and a 14-13 national final loss to Maryland, the Hoyas graduated half of their starting lineup, including all-time leading scorer Sheehan Stanwick. Still, they are picked to win the Big East again, led by All-American Erin Elbe (60, 26) and Wick Stanwick (Notre Dame Prep, 48, 11).

5. North Carolina (11-7, No. 6): Tar Heels coach Jenny Slingluff-Levy could finally have the right combination of talent, experience and teamwork to return the Tar Heels to their 1998 Final Four form. Five All-Americans return, including Christine McPike (36, 8), Kellie Thompson (St. Mary's, 51, 13) and defender Porter Wilkinson.

6. Loyola (15-5, No. 8): The Greyhounds return a strong cast from a season in which they missed the national championship game by one overtime goal -- 10-9 to Georgetown.

7. Virginia (11-7, No. 7): The Cavaliers are itching to move up the Atlantic Coast Conference ladder. Despite losing All-America defender Lauri Kenis to elbow surgery, the Cavaliers return a strong cast of veterans, including All-American Lauren Aumiller (Notre Dame Prep, 49, 16) and Gina Sambus (13, 3).

8. Dartmouth (13-4, No. 4): The defending Ivy League champs are aiming for a ninth Ivy title and a return trip to the NCAAs. A strong defense provides the foundation, anchored by All-America goalie Sarah Hughes.

9. James Madison (11-9, No. 9): The defending Colonial Athletic Association champs came on strong at the end of last season and hope to carry over that momentum. With seven starters back, including All-American Lisa Staedt (39, 11), McNevin Malloy (19, 24) and Kristin Dinisio (Centennial, 27, 4), the biggest hole the Dukes have to fill is in the goal.

10. Syracuse (10-5, No. 11): The Orangewomen, picked to finish second in the Big East, have been to the NCAA tournament twice in their five-year history. All-America midfielder Carrie Soults (30, 9) leads a veteran team.

11. Penn State (8-10, No. 13): The preseason favorite to win the inaugural American Lacrosse Conference title, the Nittany Lions are the only team in the new conference that received an NCAA tournament bid last season. Led by All-American Colleen O'Hara (33, 19) and Katie Jeschke (Mount Hebron, 34, 5), they return 24 letter winners.

12. Cornell (11-4, No. 12): The Big Red could be the team to watch in the Ivy league. Ten of the top 11 scorers return and all but one defensive starter is back. All-American Jaimee Reynolds (Towson, 36 points), Lori Wohlschlegel (17, 19) and goalie Carrie Giancola lead a team coming off its first trip to the NCAAs.

13. William & Mary (9-7, No. 10): The Tribe finished over .500 for the first time since 1997 and returns eight starters who should keep them there. Although the Tribe lost its top two scorers and starting goalie, it returns solid veterans, including Collette Chaput (20, 11), Megan Schneider (11, 6) and Julie Scurachio (Mount Hebron, 12, 3).

14. Yale (10-6, No. 20): After a 5-2 finish in the Ivy League that included a win over Dartmouth, the Bulldogs are looking to make a big move. A core of solid veterans -- led by Ivy Rookie of the Year Miles Whitman (Bryn Mawr, 35, 5) and defender Megan Strenski -- will be joined by 15 underclassmen.

15. Johns Hopkins (11-6, No. 17): The Blue Jays look to rebound from Sunday's 7-4 loss to Vanderbilt and earn their first NCAA tournament bid since moving to Division I in 1999.

16. Old Dominion (9-7, No. 14): With nine starters back, the Monarchs are looking to move up in the CAA. Leading the way: midfielders Suzanne Wosczyna (48, 12) and Jennifer Heister (36, 8) and defender Brooke Thomas (North Harford).

17. Notre Dame (10-5, No. 19): With its first preseason ranking, the 5-year-old Irish program embarks on its most ambitious schedule to date. Third in the Big East last season, the Irish rely on Danielle Shearer (North Carroll, 35, 10) and defender Tina Fedarcyk (St. Mary's).

18. Hofstra (16-3, No. 15): Winning the America East Conference earned a first-ever trip to the NCAAs, but the Pride will now test the waters in the CAA. That's familiar territory for new coach and James Madison graduate Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe (Loch Raven).

19. Vanderbilt (5-11, NR): An experienced defense and lots of speed give the Commodores high expectations for a run at the American conference crown. Defender Megan Lewis (St. Mary's), midfielder Liz Drennan and top returning scorer Jess Roguski (Liberty, 24, 6) lead a team that upset Johns Hopkins in its opener.

20. Boston University (11-8, No. 11): The Terriers are favored to win the America East Conference -- a title they won in 2000. With the graduation of all-time leading scorer Chrissy Lombard, the Terriers look to Kristin Abruzzese (26, 5) and goalie Brook Barrett (John Carroll).

Also receiving votes: Delaware, Stanford.

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