The 2021 season was anything but normal. Coming off the heels of an abruptly canceled 2020 spring season, COVID-19 protocols, restricted scheduling and other factors forced the lacrosse community to expect the unexpected — or maybe expect nothing at all.

"> Early 2022 Rankings: Nos. 20-16 (Division I Women) | USA Lacrosse Magazine

PHOTO BY RUTGERS ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

Cassidy Spilis burst onto the scene with 49 goals and 65 draw controls last spring.

Early 2022 Rankings: Nos. 20-16 (Division I Women)


The 2021 season was anything but normal. Coming off the heels of an abruptly canceled 2020 spring season, COVID-19 protocols, restricted scheduling and other factors forced the lacrosse community to expect the unexpected — or maybe expect nothing at all.

Heading into 2022 and with fall ball in full swing for many teams, the hope is that lacrosse will look a little closer to normal. Conference-only scheduling should be a thing of the past, meaning it will be easier to discern who the top teams are and why in the rankings.

Speaking of rankings, USA Lacrosse Magazine is back to its annual exercise — the Early Top 25. Every day this week, we'll break down a five-team segment, determining where the power lies in lacrosse.

Up today: Nos. 20-16.

Early 2022 Rankings

Division I Men
No. 25 - No. 21
No. 20 - No. 16
No. 15 - No. 11
No. 10 - No. 6
No. 5 - No. 1
Division I Women
No. 25 - No. 21
No. 20 - No. 16
No. 15 - No. 11
No. 10 - No. 6
No. 5 - No. 1

"Johns Hopkins will have to prove its might playing a more traditional schedule this spring — albeit without a few of the star players from last year’s team."


20. JOHNS HOPKINS

2021 record: 8-7 (7-5 Big Ten)

Last seen: Dropping a tight 9-6 result to James Madison in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Initial forecast: Questions abound for the Blue Jays in 2022. For one, it’s Janine Tucker’s final year on the sidelines. She’ll retire after 29 illustrious seasons at Homewood Field and enters her last hoorah with 303 wins at Hopkins — making her the program’s all-time winningest coach. Tucker will have to navigate a Hopkins team that lost Aurora Cordingley (39 goals, 18 assists) to Big Ten rival Maryland via transfer. All-American Trinity McPherson is also gone from the defense. Kathlen Garvey returns as a graduate student in goal, and Annika Meyer is back to lead the defense, so there’s valuable continuity there. One of last season’s surprises, Johns Hopkins will have to prove its might playing a more traditional schedule this spring — albeit without a few of the star players from last year’s team.

19. PENN

2021 record: 1-0

Last seen: In one of the bright spots for the Ivy League last spring, the Quakers topped La Salle 16-11 in their only game.

Initial forecast: Penn was one of the only Ivy League teams to play a game last spring, though it admittedly doesn’t mean much for 2022. Zoe Belodeau played her final game with the Quakers, scoring five goals with one assist, meaning her production must be replaced on the offensive end. The departure of Abby Bosco (Maryland) leaves a leadership role to be filled on defense, too. The load on offense likely now falls on senior Taylyn Stadler, who has 24 goals and 38 assists in 24 career games (an unfortunately shortened career due to the 2020 cancellation and the Ivy League’s 2021 restrictions). Others who could step up on that end include Kennon Moon, who scored four goals in her only career start last spring, Caitlin Cook, Katie Bellucci and Maria Themelis. Talent isn’t the issue here, at least not as much as shaking off the rust could prove to be.








18. DREXEL

2021 record: 13-3 (4-0 CAA)

Last seen: Ending an unexpectedly strong season on a two-game losing streak, including a 16-13 loss to Rutgers in the NCAA tournament.

Initial forecast: Drexel was a surprising player in the CAA last spring, making it all the way to the conference championship game for the first time in program history — a game the Dragons ultimately dropped to James Madison before earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Although there’s a new head coach in Kim Hillier with Jill Batcheller making the short trip to Villanova, the bones of last year’s team are still in Philadelphia. Colleen Grady (48 goals, 41 assists), Karson Harris (61 goals, eight assists) and Lucy Schneidereith (58 goals, three assists) are back to form one of the best trios in college lacrosse. Corinne Bednarik, a 30-goal scorer out of the midfield, is also still in the fold. Zoe Bennett, who has started all but one game since her freshman year in 2018, will provide stability between the pipes coming off a career-best season in which she saved 46.5 percent of shots and made 150 saves.




PHOTO BY DUNCAN BOONE

Molly Brock (85 draw controls) proved pivotal in the center circle for Jacksonville.


17. JACKSONVILLE

2021 record: 12-2 (3-0 ASUN)

Last seen: Losing in a revenge game for Florida, a 17-3 drubbing in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Initial forecast: Let’s talk about that revenge game. An impressive, gritty 12-11 win over Florida on March 13 set the stage for a program-best season, but the Dolphins couldn’t cash in against the Gators in that second meeting. But that’s OK. They’re only two losses were against Florida and Coastal Carolina (in overtime), and the offense was its usually strong self. Molly Brock (85 draw controls) proved pivotal in the center circle, and the midfielder could be in for an even bigger spring this time. Jacksonville returns 213 of its 219 goals (97.3 percent) from last year, with Julia Kolderman representing the lone player gone to graduation. Sarah Elms, Jenny Kinsey, Brock, Alyssa Arnold and Grace Hobson are a formidable group to anchor the Dolphins, but defense remains the question. Addy Tysdal, a junior who started all 14 games but saved just 41 percent of shots, could face competition from senior Dayna Martinetto, who played in 12 games but saved 52 percent of shots.

16. RUTGERS

2021 record: 7-9 (5-7 Big Ten)

Last seen: Losing 20-8 to Stony Brook in the second round of the NCAA tournament after earning its first-ever NCAA tournament win two days earlier.

Initial forecast: With the caveat — again — being that judging the Big Ten was a chore last spring, Rutgers admittedly looked promising. The Scarlet Knights took major strides under Melissa Lehman, winning its first-ever NCAA tournament game by upsetting Drexel 16-13. It was just the second NCAA tournament game ever for Rutgers, which has been around since 1977. Rutgers has some potential to stick around thanks to a combination of productive veterans and exciting young players. Cassidy Spilis, now a junior, burst onto the scene with 49 goals and 65 draw controls, giving the Scarlet Knights a dynamic second option behind program staple Taralyn Naslonski (34 goals, 23 assists). Like Spilis, Marin Hartshorn was a contributor on the circle and on offense (23 goals, 18 assists, 53 draw controls). Those three are all back, as is exciting defender Meghan Ball — a 16-game starter who controlled 75 draws of her own. Overall, Rutgers is in a good spot, needing to replace starters in attacker Hannah Hollingsworth and midfielder Julia Lytle. (Hollingsworth will likely be replaced by graduate transfer Stephanie Kelly, who posted 45 goals and 46 assists as Co-Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year with Saint Joseph’s last season). The big question comes in goal, where Alonna Gliksman and Sophia Cardello combined to save just 36.4 percent of shots. Figuring out that situation would mean big things for Rutgers.