Pittsburgh, Denver Hold No. 1 Spots in Nike/USL WCLA Preseason Top 20s

PHOTO BY BETSEY BOWEN

All-American attacker Courtney Bruch is one of the key returnees hoping to lead Pittsburgh back to the WCLA championship game.


Last year’s national championship runner-up Pittsburgh is ranked No. 1 in the Nike/US Lacrosse WCLA Division I Preseason Top 20, while two-time defending champion Denver holds the top spot in the Nike/US Lacrosse WCLA Division II Preseason Top 20. 

Pittsburgh finished with a 17-2 record last year and held the No. 1 one ranking in Division I for much of the regular season. As the top seed in the 2017 WCLA National Championship, the Panthers advanced to the title game before falling 13-11 to Delaware, a loss that snapped Pittsburgh’s 11-game winning streak. Returning All-Americans Courtney Bruch and Mara Wrzeniewski will be among the leaders for the Panthers in 2018. 

Colorado State, Georgia, UCLA, and Santa Clara round out the top five in the Division I preseason rankings. 

Coming off its second straight Division II championship in 2017, Denver begins the new season atop the Division II rankings. The Pioneers defeated Loyola 9-6 in last year’s final and closed the year with a 13-game winning streak. Three returning All-Americans – Kaitlyn Ball, Sophie Smith, and Sophie Vernon – will help lead the way for Denver, which finished 14-2 overall last year.

Loyola, Concordia (Calif.), SMU and St. Thomas round out the top five in the Division II preseason rankings.  

The complete lists for both divisions can be found below.






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Nike/US Lacrosse WCLA Division I
Preseason Top 20

1. Pittsburgh
2. Colorado State
3. Georgia
4. UCLA
5. Santa Clara 
6. Delaware Club
7. Michigan Club
8. Virginia Club 
9. Boston College Club
10. San Diego State Club
11. North Carolina Club 
12. Brigham Young
13. Cal Poly 
14. Colorado Club 
15. Grand Canyon
16. Virginia Tech Club 
17. Central Florida 
18. James Madison Club
19. Ohio State
20. Utah

Nike/US Lacrosse WCLA Division II
Preseason Top 20

1. Denver
2. Loyola Club
3. Concordia (Calif.)
4. SMU 
5. St. Thomas 
6. Grand Valley State Club
7. Vermont Club
8. Utah State 
9. Salisbury Club
10. Providence
11. Oakland 
12. Cornell Club 
13. St. Benedict 
14. Texas Christian
15. Nevada Reno
16. Texas State
17. Iowa State
18. East Carolina Club
19. Bowling Green
20. Portland

(D-II poll updated Feb. 2)

 

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