June 2, 2014

Early WD1 Top 10 for 2015: Who Challenges Terps?

by Megan Schneider | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

With only Beth Glaros (20) graduating, NCAA champion Maryland will be the team to beat once again in 2015. (Bill Danielewski)

1. Maryland

The defending national champion is only graduating one starting senior in Beth Glaros, meaning the Terps will continue to have the top program in the country with this year's Tewaaraton winner Taylor Cummings dominating in the midfield.

2. Florida

The Gators are graduating one senior on defense and one redshirt senior goalie, but these players were statistically insignificant this season. Florida is returning Tewaaraton finalist and leading goal scorer Shannon Gilroy, along with their starting goalie Mary-Sean Wilcox.

3. Northwestern

Although they are graduating leading goal scorer Alyssa Leonard, midfielder Kat DeRonda, and top defender Kerri Harrington, the Wildcats will have a strong senior class to lead the way with Bridget Bianco in goal, Kara Mupo on offense, and Haydyn Anigian on defense who led the team with 17 caused turnovers, just one more than Harrington.

4. North Carolina

The Tar Heels are graduating seven seniors, the most impactful being Abbey Friend who paced their offense breaking records this season and All-American defender Sloane Serpe. Yet, look to Aly Messinger stepping up on attack, top defender Caileigh Sindall remaining strong, and if she can recover from this year's injury, young Sydney Holman will be key to score points. Both goalies also return.

5. Boston College

After making a name for its program this year, Boston College will boast a strong senior class next season led by the team's driving forces Mikaela Rix and Covie Stanwick, as well as Sarah Mannelly in the midfield and Emily Mata in goal.

6. Syracuse

Despite having a historical season this year as the NCAA runner-up, the Orange is graduating 10 seniors, most of whom are starters. Without them, including Tewaaraton finalist Alyssa Murray, Syracuse may struggle next year having to rebuild that starting lineup. Players who need to step up is Tewaaraton finalist Kayla Treanor, as well as Kailah Kempney on the draw, Erica Bodt and Caroline Webster on offense, and Maddy Huegel on defense. Kelsey Richardson will now take the starting position in goal.

7. Duke

Duke may be losing seniors Maddy Morrissey in the midfield, Taylor Virden on defense and the team's third best scorer in Sydney Peterson, but the Blue Devils will still have a shot in 2015 returning their leading scorers – Taylor Trimble and Kerrin Maurer.

8. Virginia

After their unexpected postseason run this year, Virginia has graduated six seniors, including goalie Liz Colgan. However, Courtney Swan will lead the way in 2015 as a senior alongside Casey Bocklet.

9. Loyola (Md.)

A similar season can be expected for the Greyhounds in 2015 despite losing impact players Marlee Paton and defender Katie Reinhard from their starting lineup. Only four seniors are graduating and Loyola has the following key athletes returning: Annie Thomas on attack and Maddy Lesher on defense.

10. Louisville

The same can be said for Louisville with two key impact players graduating this year in attacker Nikki Boltja and midfielder Monica Negron, but with offensive threats Faye Brust and Kaylin Morrissette returning to the field in 2015, Louisville will be a contender.

Who Else Could Be Here?

Consider Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays have graduated three key players for its offense – Taylor D'Amore, Sammy Cermack and Sarah Taylor. But the returning players, including Dene' DiMartino in the midfield, Jenna Reifler on attack, Octavia Williams on defense and Caroline Federico in goal, who edged out KC Emerson toward the end of the season, will present a strong threat in redemption of this season, when they seemingly got snubbed from higher seeding and an unexpected first round loss in overtime to Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament. They will be aiming to having another historical start to the 2015 season.

Also look to Notre Dame, who earned the eighth seed in this year's tourney. The top three leading goal scorers – Cortney Fortunato, Caitlin Gargan and Rachel Sexton – all return. Despite losing top defender Margaret Smith, the Irish will be able to look to Stephanie Peragallo and Alex Dalton to cause some turnovers on defense in 2015.

Ohio State will also be looking to throw a curve ball in 2015, having lost in double overtime to Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Top attacker Jackie Cifarelli will be a relentless threat next season, supported by midfielders Jennifer Porretto and Mary Kate Facchina. Defensively, goalie Tori DeScenza will be returning alongside defender Taylor Donahue. The Buckeyes are graduating five seniors, including leading goal scorer Katie Chase, but the remaining cast will be strong next year.

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