February 3, 2014

#LMRanks: NCAA Women's DIII Breakdown - No. 11-20

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Erica Mulford was No. 2 in the CAC with 46 goals a year ago and is primed for another big campaign for York. (Kevin Tucker)

While the top of Division III remained largely unchanged in 2013, the bottom half of the Top 20 saw quite a bit of turnover. Five teams finished the season ranked in the Top 20 after ending up unranked in 2012.

At the start of 2014 this list features everything from a team that went undefeated in the regular season (Susquehanna) and a team that almost cracked the final four (RPI), to a perennial tournament team jumping to a tougher league (Christopher Newport) and a team just five years removed from an NCAA title (Hamilton).

Threats to the Top 10 abound.

RPI came close to bucking the status quo last season, leading Middlebury at halftime of the NCAA quarterfinals, and is again the favorite in the Liberty League. York, meanwhile, lost by one to Franklin & Marshall in the NCAA second round, and will get a shot at Top 10 foes F&M and Gettysburg during non-league play, in addition to its regularly scheduled CAC programming against Salisbury.

Hamilton and Amherst, by virtue of their NESCAC schedule will have plenty of chances to crack the Top 10. Same with SUNYAC upstarts Geneseo, Fredonia and Brockport, who will all again chase Cortland. Ithaca has four preseason Top 20 foes on its nonleague slate. Stevenson has a chance to make the earliest jump. The Mustangs open the season with two of the last three NCAA champions, Salisbury and Gettysburg. 

No. 11 RPI Engineers

2013 Record: 16-4 (9-0 Liberty League)

Top Returner- A Rachel Scofield (Sr.)
Scofield is a tricky player who has improved each season. In 2013 she broke the Engineers' single-season assists record (30) and tied its single-season points record (65).

X-Factor - M Meg Colitz (Sr.)
RPI's leading scorer in 2012 (41 goals) missed all but six games in 2013 due to an ACL injury. Fully healed, Colitz will add another element to the Liberty League's second-highest scoring offense.

No. 12 York Spartans

2013 Record: 14-5 (5-1 CAC)

Top Returner - A Erica Mulford (Sr.)
The CAC's No. 2 returning scorer poured in 46 goals for the Spartans and should assume an even bigger role in 2014.

X-Factor - G Ashley Smith (Sr.)
Smith transferred from FDU-Florham last season and wasn't assured a starting spot, but earned it after an offseason training with Northwestern's Bridget Bianco. She ranked 20th in D-II goals against average (7.78).

No. 13 Amherst Lord Jeffs

2013 Record: 9-6 (5-5 NESCAC)

Top Returner - M Alex Philie (Sr.)
The versatile second-team all-NESCAC athlete filled the stat sheet with 18 goals, 10 assists, 46 draw controls, 26 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers in 2013.

X-Factor - A Priscilla Tyler (Jr.)
Tyler led the Lord Jeffs in scoring as a sophomore with 27 goals and also roped in 19 draw controls.

No. 14 Susquehanna Crusaders

2013 Record: 17-1 (4-0 Landmark)

Top Returner - M Emma Ehler (Jr.)
Ehler, who also stars on Susquehanna's soccer team, broke her own program single-season records for points (98) and goals (80) as a sophomore in 2013.

X-Factor - M Michelle McGinnis (Sr.)
The high-powered Crusaders will need to score even more often to make up for the graduation of All-American goalie Emily Stankaitis. McGinniss scored 58 goals in 2013, which ranked third in program history.

No. 15 Hamilton Continentals

2013 Record: 9-8 (4-6 NESCAC)

Top Returner - A Katie D'Antonio (Sr.)
The skilled two-way player out of hotbed Garden City (N.Y.) has started nearly every game since arriving on campus and led the Continentals with 36 goals and 13 assists in 2013.

X-Factor - NESCAC
Mighty Hamilton's first two seasons in the conference have both ended without NCAA tournament trips. The third year could be the charm.

No. 16 Christopher Newport Captains

A version of this story appears in the February 2014 issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Join US Lacrosse to receive your subscription today!

2013 Record: 18-3 (8-0 USA South)

Top Returner - A Ashton Marshall (Sr.)
Marshall tied the Captains' single-season scoring record with 76 goals in 2013 and currently ranks fourth on the program's all-time points list with 239.

X-Factor - New Conference
The Captains sail away from the safe waters of the USA South, and its attainable automatic qualifier, and into the powerful CAC where they'll likely need to earn an at-large NCAA bid.

No. 17 Ithaca Bombers

2013 Record: 12-6 (7-0 Empire 8)

Top Returner - A Allison Runyon (So.)
The 2013 Empire 8 Rookie of the Year ranked second on Ithaca with 31 goals and collected 23 ground balls while appearing in all 18 games.

X-Factor - Empire 8 AQ
Despite stellar regular seasons, the Bombers have been snubbed from the NCAAs for two years running after being bounced in their conference tournament.

No. 18 Brockport Golden Eagles

2013 Record: 12-6 (5-3 SUNYAC)

Top Returner - M Katie Sullivan (Jr.)
The first-team All-SUNYAC player is the Golden Eagles' top returning scorer (38 goals) and also grabbed 22 ground balls and 59 draw controls in 2013.

X-Factor - D Colleen Hathaway (Jr.)
Hathaway was named second-team All-SUNYAC after picking up 51 ground balls and causing 26 turnovers in 2013.

No. 19 Fredonia Blue Devils

2013 Record: 14-3 (6-2 SUNYAC)

Top Returner - D Katie Kleine (Sr.)
The first-team All-SUNYAC defender piled up 40 goals, 25 assists, 40 ground balls, 25 caused turnovers, and 57 draw controls.

X-Factor - D Mary Bruton (Sr.)
Bruton (29 GB, 22 CT) and Jenna Cuddeback (22 GB, 14 CT) anchor a strong returning defense that could improve on the 8.41 goals per game they allowed in 2013.

No. 20 Stevenson Mustangs

2013 Record: 16-2 (8-0 MAC Commonwealth)

Top Returner - M Marissa Meiklejohn (Sr.)
The MAC Commonwealth Player of the Year had 51 goals, 24 assists, 43 ground balls, 33 draw controls and 22 caused turnovers in 2013.

X-Factor - A Leah Warner (Sr.)
The first-team all-conference attacker is tough to stop and led the Mustangs in goals (54) and assists (34) as a junior.

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