Way-Early 2020 Rankings: No. 10-6 (Division II Women)

In some respects, the 2019 NCAA Division II women’s lacrosse season ended the same way that other recent campaigns have ended, with perennial power Adelphi hoisting the championship trophy.

Unlike other seasons, however, Adelphi did not take its usual path in claiming its ninth national title and fourth in the past six years.

The Panthers were never the frontrunner and never held the top spot in national rankings. They exited early from their own conference tournament and entered the NCAA tournament as the East Region’s No. 3 seed, their lowest ever.

In truth, Adelphi spent much of the year flying below most people’s radars.

We use certain analytics — like key players returning and lost, recent history and trends to shape our way-early rankings. Sometimes we are right, and sometimes we miss the mark.

It’s for that very reason that this exercise, where we identify the top 10 contenders for supremacy a full eight months before the start of next season, is so unpredictable.

To our credit, we did tab Adelphi at No. 1 a year ago and peg national runner-up West Chester at No. 3 (humble brag).

But we also underestimated the rise of NCAA semifinalist Regis, placing it ninth, overestimated the emergence of Florida Tech, placing it fourth, and completely missed on another final four contender, Queens, omitting it altogether from the preseason top 20.

So with the understanding that this exercise is simply just that, an exercise, here’s a look at the top contenders in 2020.

Way-Early 2020 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
No. 10-No. 6
No. 5-No. 1
Division III Women
No. 10-No. 6
No. 5-No. 1
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Category: 
College
Author: 
Paul Ohanian
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10. Limestone

Despite posting 18 wins and capturing their 12th Conference Carolinas title, the Saints were left out of the NCAA tournament in 2019. That might simply prime the pump for 2020. Gone is 100-goal All-American scorer Courtney Lafler, but five other 20-goal scorers return.

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We use certain analytics — like key players returning and lost, recent history and trends to shape our way-early rankings. Sometimes we are right, and sometimes we miss the mark.
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9. Florida Southern

With the recent rise of both Tampa and Rollins in the SSC, it was unlikely that the Mocs would be able to continue the dominance that yielded three straight league titles and three straight NCAA championship game appearances from 2016-2018. The challenge is compounded further with the loss of three all-region performers from the 2019 roster. But the top two goal scorers, Riley Bannatyne and Grace Glinecki, are back.

8. Rollins

Rollins won its first 10 games in 2019 and climbed as high as third in the Nike/US Lacrosse Top 20 rankings. The Tars eventually advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals before falling to Queens. Rollins loses the SSC’s leading scorer, All-American Kallie German, and three-time all-region defender Lindsay Van Beck, but welcomes back All-American midfielder Lily Rizk and 54-goal scorer Hannah Ashton.

 

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7. Lindenwood

The Lions made four straight NCAA semifinal appearances from 2014-2017, but have been one-and-done in the NCAA tournament in the past two seasons. A pair of All-American players — midfielder Carly Fedorowski, the team’s leading scorer in 2019, and defender Morgan Reader — will try to lead the program back to the postseason’s final weekend.

6. Tampa

The Spartans claimed their first Sunshine State Conference championship in 2019, knocking off Rollins and Florida Southern in a span of three days to take the trophy and earn the No. 1 seed in the NCAA’s South Regional. The return of five all-region players, including SSC Player of the Year and first team All-American Claire Swanson, leading scorer Carly Vaccaro and goalie Bridget Sutter, will help offset the loss of four senior starters.

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Limestone, Florida Southern, Rollins, Lindenwood and Tampa profile as top-10 teams.
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Photographer Main Image: 
PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER
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PHOTO COURTESY OF LINDENWOOD ATHLETICS
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All-American midfielder Lily Rizk returns for a Rollins team that rose as high as No. 3 in national rankings this year.
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Lindenwood midfielder Carly Fedorowski (17), an All-American and the team's top scorer in 2019, will try to lead the Lions back to the final four after consecutive one-and-done NCAA tournament appearances.

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