Way-Early 2019 Rankings: No. 25-No. 21 (Division I Women)

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Virginia ended the 2018 season with a loss to eventual national champion James Madison in the NCAA second round, but returns in 2019 with a senior class anchored by midfielder Maggie Jackson.


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

25. MICHIGAN

2018 record: 7-10 (2-4 Big Ten)
Last seen: Stunning Penn State with two goals in six seconds in April, but falling a win shy of the Big Ten tournament.
Senior starts lost: 15 of 192 (7.8 percent)
Senior scoring departing: 28 of 197 (14.2 percent)

Initial forecast: Under first-year coach Hannah Nielsen, the Wolverines set program records for overall wins and conference wins. Moreover, the Wolverines showed signs that the program is ready for a breakthrough in a one-goal loss to Navy and a thrilling win at Penn State in the season finale. With 11 starters returning, including leading scorer Adriana Pendino (36 points), and the entire defense backstopped by Alli Kothari (four games with 10 or more saves), the Wolverines are poised to be among the top four Big Ten teams.

24. DENVER

2018 record: 13-7 (6-3 Big East)
Last seen: Falling to the Terrapins by 11 in the NCAA second round in College Park, Maryland.
Senior starts lost: 20 of 240 (8.3 percent)
Senior scoring departing: 51 of 349 (14.6 percent)

Initial forecast: The Pioneers lose just five seniors from last year’s squad and return each of their top five scorers. Out of 12 starters, 11 are expected to return to a team that managed to take out both Colorado and Stanford. Another year’s seasoning coupled with the re-shuffled Big East membership should have the Pioneers in prime position to contend for a conference title. Denver will be a dark horse pick for postseason play.

23. VIRGINIA

2018 record: 10-10 (4-3)
Last seen: Dropping a three-goal decision to James Madison, finishing the season on a 2-8 stretch.
Senior starts lost: 65 of 240 (27.0 percent)
Senior scoring departing: 113 of 418 (30.7 percent)

Initial forecast: Virginia has Sammy Mueller (74 points), Maggie Jackson (64) and Avery Shoemaker (62) back to a team that lost its momentum down the stretch. The Cavaliers began to bleed goals at an alarming rate during its slide, giving up an average of 15.6 per game in those eight losses, which were all to NCAA tournament teams. For the first time in four years, Virginia will have a new starting goalie, and how a regrouped defense fares in front of here will dictate how the season plays out.







22. USC

2018 record: 10-8 (6-4 Pac-12)
Last seen: Falling to Stanford for the third time in 2018 by a total of five goals in the Pac-12 semifinals.
Senior starts lost: 59 of 216 (27.3 percent)
Senior scoring departing: 72 of 290 (24.8 percent)

Initial forecast: USC will have a giant hole in net to fill with the graduation of Gussie Johns, but the offense remains mostly intact. Kerrigan Miller (49 points), Izzy McMahon (40) and Kelsey Huff (36) represent the top three scorers and they’ll be back. Replacing a defensive stalwart like Lydia Sutton will be difficult, but Jackie Gilbert is set to lead that role after causing 22 turnovers and scooping a team-high 86 draw controls. How the Trojans navigate year two in the Pac-12 will be key as last year’s Colorado-Oregon road trip failure proved fateful on Selection Sunday.

21. COLORADO

2018 record: 14-6 (9-1 Pac-12)
Last seen: Dropping an NCAA second round game to the Gators in Gainesville, Florida.
Senior starts lost: 88 of 240 (36.7 percent)
Senior scoring departing: 162 of 377 (43.0 percent)

Initial forecast: The Buffaloes will have a new-look offense next year with the departure of 100-point scorer Darby Kieman, who also accounted for 159 of the team’s 292 draw controls. Miranda Stinson was impressive with 77 points and will be joined by Samantha Nemirov (48 points) and Sophia Castillo (41). Having goalie Julia Lisella in net will be a major asset. Lisella had eight games with at least 10 saves going 13-4 with a 50.3 save percentage. If Colorado can gel, they can take a run at repeating as Pac-12 regular-season champions.

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