Division I women's lacrosse team-by-team previews

February 05, 2014|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

Projected NCAA seeds

1.North Carolina

Last season: 18-3, NCAA champion

Coach: Jenny Levy (19th season, 242-95)

Top returning point-getter: Abbey Friend, senior A (61 goals, 22 assists)

Other key returnees

Sloane Serpe, senior D

Margaret Corzel, junior D

Aly Messinger, sophomore, A (31, 15)

Key newcomers

Maggie Bill, freshman M

Sydney Holman, freshman A

Outlook: The Tar Heels won their first national championship in dramatic fashion, edging previously-unbeaten Maryland, 13-12 in triple overtime in the longest game in NCAA women's lacrosse tournament history. Much of that talent returns for what Carolina hopes is an encore. Although they lost 87 points with the graduation of tournament MVP Kara Cannizzaro's and 41 more when senior midfielder Brittney Coppa tore an ACL in a Jan. 26 scrimmage against the U.S. national team, the Tar Heels return four of their top scorers and add a host of talented freshman. Defensively, the Tar Heels bring back a strong defense backed by sophomore goalie Megan Ward, one of the heroes of the national title game who had three of her six saves in overtime.


2. Maryland

Atlantic Coast Conference

Last season: 22-1, NCAA finalist

Coach: Cathy Reese (eighth season, 139-16, 11th season overall, 160-45)

Top returning point-getter: Brooke Griffin (49, 24)

Other key returnees

Taylor Cummings, sophomore, M (43, 14)

Beth Glaros, senior M (27, 9)

Kelly McPartland, junior M (25, 20)

Key newcomer

Zoe Stukenberg, freshman M

Outlook: The Terps defeated every team they played last season, including North Carolina twice, but they couldn't quite finish off their third meeting with the Tar Heels, falling a triple-overtime goal short of their 11th NCAA championship. Despite graduating two-time Tewaaraton Award winner Katie Schwarzmann and All-American Alex Aust, who combined for 210 points, the Terps return plenty of talent and experience on offense, especially in Cummings — a freshman All-American — Griffin and Glaros. They may have even more depth than last year, when eight players scored 23 or more goals. Defensively, the Terps will be rebuilding around returning starters Megan Douty and Shanna Brady while Abbey Clipp and Emily Kift compete for playing time in the goal.


3. Syracuse

Atlantic Coast Conference

Last season: 18-4, NCAA semifinalist

Coach: Gary Gait (eighth season, 94-31)

Top returning point-getter: Alyssa Murray, senior A (64, 40)

Other key returnees

Kayla Treanor, sophomore A-M (71, 24)

Katie Webster, senior M (25, 1)

Natalie Glanell, senior D

Key newcomers

Taylor Poplawski, freshman A

Lisa Rogers, sophomore M

Outlook: The Orange, aiming for its fifth trip to the final four in seven years after falling to Maryland 11-10 in last year's semifinals, jump from the Big East to the ACC, adding more strength to what has historically been Division I's toughest conference. With an offense that has scored 46 points in its first two games — wins over Jacksonville and Stetson — Syracuse returns a lot of firepower from an attack that averaged 15.09 goals last season, second in Division I. Murray and Treanor, both Player of the Year contenders, combined for 41 percent of the Orange's goals last season. Defensively, Glanell, Kasey Mock and goalies Kelsey Richardson and Alyssa Costantino lead a unit that gave up just 8.55 goals per game last season.


4. Duke

Atlantic Coast Conference

Last season: 14-6, NCAA quarterfinals

Coach: Kerstin Kimel (19th season at Duke, 230-110; 20th season overall, 234-118)

Top returning point-getter: Kerrin Mauer, junior A (35, 35)

Other key returnees

Taylor Virden, senior D

Maddy Morrissey, senior M (20, 4)

Taylor Trimble, junior M (37, 5)

Top newcomers

Isabelle Montagne, freshman D

Maura Schwitter, freshman M-D

Outlook: The Blue Devils got off to a quick start last season, but stumbled a bit in April, especially in a first-round loss to Virginia in the ACC Tournament. Many of the nine returning starters have played significant roles since they were freshmen. With talent, experience and depth up and down the field, the Blue Devils could be poised to get past the NCAA quarterfinals, in which they fell to Maryland last season. With Mauer, Trimble and Virden — an All-American — Duke has leadership in each unit. The defense looks exceptionally strong, backed by sophomore goalie Kelsey Duryea, who earned second-team All-America honors last season and is the program's first freshman All-American.


Others in Maryland

Johns Hopkins

American Lacrosse Conference

Last season: 10-7

Coach: Janine Tucker (21st season, 220-120)

Top returning point-getter: Taylor D'Amore, senior A (29, 49)

Other key returnees

Sammy Cermak, senior M (24, 11)

Sarah Taylor, senior M (43, 3)

Dene' DiMartino, sophomore M (35, 3)

Key newcomers

Haley Schweizer, freshman M

Caroline Federico, freshman G

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