February 8, 2012

Season Preview (WD2): Preseason Top 10 Outlook

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com

Erica Devito and Adelphi figure to battle with Le Moyne at the top of NCAA Division II this year.
© Lee Weissman

1. Le Moyne

2011 Record: 18-3 (11-1 Northeast-10)
Key Player: Senior attacker Brittany Brigandi led Division II with 87 goals in 2011 and added 19 assists.
X-Factor: Sophomore midfielder Jen Fabian should make an impact on young midfield after missing 2011 with injury.

2. Adelphi

2011 Record: 20-0 (12-0 Northeast-10)
Key Player: Senior attacker Erica Devito is a three-time All-American and Adelphi's top returning scorer, ranking third in Division II with 77 goals in 2011.
X-Factor: New head coach and former Adelphi men's lacrosse player Rob Grella takes over a team that won three consecutive NCAA titles but lost several key players.

3. C.W. Post

2011 Record: 13-4 (7-1 ECC)
Key Player: Junior attacker/midfielder Ashley Olen, the Pioneers' top scorer in 2010, returns after missing all of 2011 with an ACL injury.
X-Factor: The defense. Senior Chelsea Donaldson and junior Aimee Capps lead a deep unit, which ranked among the top 10 in Division II in goals allowed in 2011.

4. Dowling

2011 Record: 15-3 (8-0 ECC)
Key Player: Senior attacker Brooke Witkowski is the top returning scorer in Division II after setting program records with 78 assists and 110 points in 2011.
X-Factor: Junior attacker Nicolle Moran, who transferred from Division I Stony Brook prior to the 2011 season, led Dowling with 54 goals.

5. Limestone

2011 Record: 18-2 (7-0 Conference Carolinas)
Key Player: Senior attacker Racquel Prager, the reigning Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, scored 60 goals in 2011, second-most in program history.
X-Factor: Brains and balance. Limestone had the second-highest team GPA in all of Division II (3.30) in 2011.

6. West Chester

2011 Record: 16-5 (11-0 PSAC)
Key Player: Local product and junior attacker Tori Dugan is the Rams' top returning scorer (46 goals), but she has an even bigger presence on draw controls (46) and ground balls (40).
X-Factor: Experience. The only South region team to ever capture a national championship is in the postseason discussion every year.

7. Lock Haven

2011 Record: 16-3 (10-1 PSAC)
Key Player: Sophomore midfielder Jessica Pandolf (37g, 67 DCs) is a two-way force whose speed allows her to take chances on the defensive end.
X-Factor: Depth. With a much larger roster this year, Lock Haven will have plenty of chances to rotate in more talent and fresh legs.

8. Stonehill

2011 Record: 15-4 (10-2 Northeast-10)
Key Player: Senior attacker Sam Lynott led the Skyhawks with 59 goals, 82 points and 50 draw controls in 2011.
X-Factor: Defense. Stonehill ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense (7.89 goals allowed per game), but graduated most of the key players in that unit.

9. Rollins

2011 Record: 13-4 (Independent)
Key Player: Sophomore goalkeeper Elyse DeLisle (8.87 GAA), a steady presence between the pipes, gives Rollins' other players freedom and confidence to take risks.
X-Factor: Location. Playing in Florida draws top teams for non-league games that will be crucial for gaining an NCAA tournament bid.

10. New Haven

2011 Record: 10-8 (8-4 Northeast-10)
Key Player: Fifth-year senior midfielder Ashley Ferrandiz (23g, 21a) provides experience, versatility and superb field vision.
X-Factor: Experience. The Chargers return 11 starters, including their leading scorer in senior attacker Alexis Gabbe (74g, 14a) and their defensive leader in senior midfielder Aubrey Duncan.

This article appears in the February issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription to LM.

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