Breaking Down Every Team in the Nike/USA Lacrosse D-II Women's Preseason Top 20

PHOTO COURTESY OF UINDY ATHLETICS

Abigail Lagos had 62 goals and 18 assists for No. 2 UIndy in 2021.


History was made last season, as Lindenwood claimed its first national championship and became the first NCAA champion from outside of the Eastern Time Zone in the 20-year history of the Division II women’s championship.

If our Nike/USA Lacrosse Division II Women’s Preseason Top 20 holds up, coach Jack Cribbins’ Lions will create more history this season by becoming the first back-to-back champion since Adelphi achieved the feat in 2015.

The Lions are the popular choice among the coaches who provided input on our preseason ranking, universally tabbed as No. 1 to start the year. While there’s no shortage of legitimate challengers, it may be advisable to muzzle the Lions early.

1. Lindenwood

No team has utilized the transfer portal more effectively over the past three seasons than the Lions, and 2022 may prove to be more of the same. In addition to returning All-Americans Lexy Biller and Alyssa Kneedler, coach Jack Cribbin welcomes Stony Brook transfer Bridget Considine, who finished among the scoring leaders for the Seawolves’ NCAA quarterfinal team in 2021.

2. Indianapolis

The Greyhounds feature two of the nation’s top players in All-Americans Abigail Lagos (62 goals, 18 assists) and Peyton Romig (29 goals, 25 assists), and will likely be Lindenwood’s top challenger, both within the GLVC and nationally. Similar to last season, as conference foes, they could face each other three times, with the final meeting determining which team advances to the final four.

3. Le Moyne

The Dolphins lost just one game last year, upset by Adelphi in the NE10 tournament semifinal, but that lone blemish cost Le Moyne a spot in the downsized NCAA tournament field. The memory of that loss will likely serve as strong motivation this spring for a talent-laden roster led by attacker Erin McMullen, midfielder Sydney Meagher and goalie Paige Crandall.

4. Queens

The Royals took another huge step forward in 2021, advancing to the national championship game for the first time before having their 12-game win streak halted with the loss to Lindenwood. There were some key graduation losses, but led by midfielders Kyleigh Masteran and Sydney Bracken, and defender Sydney Hussey, there could be another postseason run.

5. West Chester

The only hurdle that the Rams couldn’t clear in 2021 was beating PSAC rival East Stroudsburg for a fourth time. After winning their 24th PSAC crown, West Chester was the top seed in the Atlantic Region but fell to ESU in the regional final. Graduation claimed some talented players, but attacker Lindsay Monigle and midfielder Hannah Stanislawczyk are impact returnees.

6. East Stroudsburg

All-American goalie Tatyanna Petteway is gone, but many of the prime defensive components, including Kayleigh Pokrivka and Kristen Andreychak, are back for another run. With All-American midfielder Emily Mitarotonda also ready to build on her outstanding freshman campaign, ESU is a legit contender.

7. Roberts Wesleyan

The Redhawks were one of the best stories of the 2021 season, advancing to the national semifinals after being unranked in the preseason. Along the way, they achieved multiple program milestones, including their first ECC title and first NCAA appearance. Returning All-American Lindsey Brinkel will try to lead another postseason run in 2022.

8. Rollins

The Tars played a limited schedule last year but beat three ranked opponents along the way. Top scorer Liz Fahey is back to lead the offense, with defender Bridget Cawley and goalie Gabby Tanner among the experienced returnees on defense.

9. Florida Southern

The Mocs were caught off guard by their omission from the NCAA tournament despite posting four wins over ranked opponents. With All-American Haley Daleo back on offense and a roster that features over 20 returnees, they could claim one of the South Region’s bids in 2022.

10. Regis

The Rangers lost just two games last year, both against national champion Lindenwood. With All-American Kyleigh Peoples (56 goals, 37 assists) returning as one of the nation’s best players, Regis will make a strong run at its fifth straight NCAA tournament berth.







11. Limestone

As a perennial contender in the South Region, the Saints earned their way back to the NCAA tournament for the 11th time last season, eventually losing in the regional final against Queens. They should once against contend with the Royals for top honors in the SAC.

12. Seton Hill

The Griffins have emerged as a solid contender in the PSAC and will once again be among the league’s championship favorites. Junior midfielder Kristi Kada is one of the best players in the nation and led SHU in both scoring (52 goals) and caused turnovers (43) last year.

13. Tampa

The Spartans climbed as high as fifth in our Top 20 last year before back-to-back season-ending losses saw them fall out of the Top 10. Junior midfielder Cece Colombo is among the top players in the Sunshine State Conference.

14. Mercy

Both losses last year were by one goal against ECC foe and national semifinalist Roberts Wesleyan. Senior All-American Micayla Brady is one of the top defenders in the country, and senior attacker Taylor Bishop (37 goals) is a returning first team all-ECC player.

15. Grand Valley State

The return of fifth-year midfielders Sophie Conroy (43 goals) and Olivia Esposito (31 goals) gives GVSU a strong shot at repeating as GLIAC champions and possibly securing one of the four postseason spots in the NCAA’s Midwest Region.

16. Bentley

The Falcons enjoyed a historic 2021 campaign, claiming their first NE10 championship and first NCAA tournament bid. They will need to replace All-American goalie Eliza Bresler and leading scorer Julia Glavin, but they return all-conference midfielder Cara McCarthy.

17. Adelphi

The Panthers had a rollercoaster 2021 season that ended with a loss in the NE10 final. Despite graduating a strong nucleus, there’s always returning talent here, headlined by attacker Christina McCabe and midfielder Kristina Kallansrude.

18. Mount Olive

The Trojans made their first NCAA tournament appearance in 2021 after winning their second Conference Carolinas title. All-American Chaija Olsson returns to help anchor the defense, while Meaghan Michaud (38 goals) is the top returning scorer.

19. Pace

The Setters beat everyone they played last year except the NE10’s traditional heavyweights, losing twice to both Le Moyne and Adelphi. Junior Jennifer Sommer is a difference maker on defense, and returnees Emma Rafferty (34 goals) and Aleya Corretjer (30 goals) are proven scorers.

20. Saint Anselm

The Hawks established a new team record last year with a 10-game winning streak, combining a 6-0 start with a 4-0 mark from the 2019 campaign. All-conference returnees Jenna Balboni, Alison Ferullo and Lexi Palmisano are the headliners.

Also considered (alphabetical order): Assumption, Belmont Abbey, Bloomsburg, Davenport, McKendree, Mercyhurst

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