PHOTO BY GREGORY A. SHEMITZ

Hanna Haven will lead James Madison in 2019 after being the second leading scorer for the Dukes' historic season with 47 goals and 32 assists.

Way-Early 2019 Rankings: No. 10-No. 6 (Division I Women)


2019 has a tough act to follow.

The 2018 college lacrosse season sent us on a wild ride, a journey that on Memorial Day ended with first-time champions in five of six divisions, men and women. It’s entirely too early to predict what’s in store for next spring. We’ll try, anyway. 

Way-Early 2019 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
Division III Men
Top 10
Division III Women
Top 10
Division II Men’s Top 10
Thursday, June 14
Division II Women’s Top 10
Thursday, June 14

The 2018 NCAA champion James Madison will have some growing pains early on next season, but should be in contention for another CAA crown.


10. JAMES MADISON

2018 record: 22-1 (6-0 CAA)

Last seen: Hoisting its first NCAA championship trophy with a thrilling 16-15 win over 2017 NCAA runner-up Boston College.

Senior starts lost: 153 of 276 (55.4 percent)

Senior scoring departing: 331 of 518 (63.9 percent)

Initial forecast: The Dukes rode a senior wave to its first NCAA championship and will follow up with a fairly new cast of characters in 2019. The major notable returner is Hanna Haven, who served as 2018’s second leading scorer with 47 goals and 32 assists. How last year’s role players like Maddie McDaniel (28 points), Halley Duenkel (19) and Katie Chekosky (19) pick up the slack and gel with the next crop of contributors will guide JMU’s offensive success. The arguably biggest asset to return in 2019 is the goalie tandem of Ellie Harmeyer and Molly Dougherty. That duo combined for 9.21 GAA as Dougherty led the Dukes down the stretch with her 46.5 save percentage. It will be fair to see some growing pains early in the season for JMU, yet coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe should get her squad in position to vie for another CAA title.

9. SYRACUSE

2018 record: 9-10 (1-6 ACC)

Last seen: Dropping a fifth game by a single goal in a season-ending loss to Princeton in the NCAA first round.

Senior starts lost: 66 of 228 (28.9 percent)

Senior scoring departing: 136 of 390 (34.9 percent)

Initial forecast: There’s no way Syracuse can repeat a bad luck season, right? The Orange dropped five games by a single goal, somehow finished seventh in the ACC, yet still beat eventual seeded teams Florida and Loyola. In 2019, the Orange return their two leading scorers in Emily Hawryschuk (61 points) and Nicole Levy (51), as well as solid contributors Sam Swart (38) and Molly Carter (30). The impact of Morgan Widner’s return from her season-ending injury should be a major boost to the draw game and on defense. If Syracuse can contain opposing offenses for their young goalies, the Orange can contend for the top half of the ACC and a potential NCAA seed.








8. TOWSON

2018 record: 16-5 (5-1 CAA)

Last seen: Conceding a season-high 21 goals to Northwestern in an NCAA second round loss.

Senior starts lost: 85 of 252 (33.7 percent)

Senior scoring departing: 159 of 398 (40.0 percent)

Initial forecast: Towson is back and should remain among the nation’s top teams in 2019. The Tigers feature their leading scorer from 2018 (Natalie Sulmonte, 75 points) and leading defenders (Olivia Conti, 52 caused turnovers; Sami Chenoweth, 44 caused turnovers). The Towson defense should be even better in 2019 because Kiley Keating returns in the crease. Keating posted a 9.36 GAA and 47.4 save percentage last year as a sophomore, which featured six games with 10 or more saves. Ultimately, can the Tigers repeat their winning performances against NCAA teams like Florida, Penn State, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins? If so, expect Towson to be in line for another top eight seed on Selection Sunday.   

7. VIRGINIA TECH

2018 record: 14-7 (5-2 ACC)

Last seen: Running out of steam in a third straight loss to North Carolina, which came in the NCAA second round.

Senior starts lost: 143 of 252 (56.7 percent)

Senior scoring departing: 125 of 344 (36.3 percent)

Initial forecast: Coach John Sung continues to bring the Hokie program to new heights, and that should be expected again in 2019 despite losing so many talented defensive players. Leading scorer Paige Petty (58 goals, seeven assists) returns and will need some aid from the likes of Taylor Caskey (38 points), Julia Bolte (35) and Mary Claire Byrne (27). How Sung is able to regroup his defensive unit, especially in net, will determine how far the Hokies can go. As he brings in another crop of his recruits, expect Virginia Tech to remain in the top half of the ACC and have a chance to move to the NCAA tournament’s second weekend.




PHOTO BY GREGORY A. SHEMITZ

Zoe Belodeau emerged as a star for Penn and will be among the leading contributors next season as the Quakers look to break through.


6. PENN

2018 record: 13-6

Last seen: Losing to the Seawolves 18-5 in the NCAA second round in Stony Brook, New York.

Senior starts lost: 77 of 228 (33.8 percent)

Senior scoring departing: 152 of 418 (36.4 percent)

Initial forecast: With emerging stars Gabby Rosenzweig, Zoe Belodeau and Erin Barry combining for 229 points, and standout shot-stopper Mikaila Cheeseman set to return, the Quakers will look to break through in 2019 after knocking on the door in 2018. Penn won a share of the Ivy title with Princeton, but fell short to the Tigers twice before bowing out of the NCAA tournament to Stony Brook. Another key piece to the Quakers’ success will be its veteran defense, which will see Lauren O’Mara and Katy Junior lead the unit as seniors next year.