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

For the second time in four years and the seventh time overall, the NCAA Division III women’s lacrosse season ended with Middlebury celebrating a national championship. The Panthers stumbled just once in 2019, losing their season opener 11-10 in overtime against Bates, but then showed the grit of a champion. 

Middlebury answered that early setback with 22 straight wins, capped with a 14-9 victory over Salisbury in the NCAA championship game. The Panthers finished the year with 16 wins over ranked opponents, including two wins over Salisbury.

Can Middlebury make another title run in 2020? Will Salisbury return to the championship game? Is there a new contender on the horizon?

Here’s our best guess as we try to identify the top 10 teams 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
Tag: 
Category: 
College
Author: 
Paul Ohanian
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10. William Smith

The Herons lose just one senior from a squad that captured its fourth straight Liberty League championship and posted a 15-game winning streak in 2019. Second-team All-American defender Mekayla Montgomery and all-region goalie Olivia Hofmann will lead the defense, while top scorer Ellie Burns (53 goals) is one of six 20-goal scorers coming back.

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Can Middlebury make another title run in 2020? Will Salisbury return to the championship game? Is there a new contender on the horizon? Here’s our best guess as we try to identify the top 10 teams in 2020.
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9. TCNJ

After a sluggish start in 2019, the Lions warmed up with the weather, winning 10 of 11 before bowing out in the NCAA tournament against Tufts. Five of the top seven scorers return, led by Olivia Cleale (85 points) and third-team All-American Alexandria Fitzpatrick (83 points). The Lions carry a 66-game conference winning streak into the 2020 season as they chase their 10th straight NJAC title.

8. St. John Fisher

The Cardinals advanced to the NCAA tournament’s third round while setting a program record for wins in a season and enjoying an 18-game winning streak. The only team SJF couldn’t beat was York, which handed the Cardinals both of their losses. Four returning all-region performers, including leading scorer Mallory Eymer (86 points) and freshman standout Sydney DeGirolamo (79 points), will try to script a repeat performance.

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7. Wesleyan

The Cardinals enjoyed the best season in program history, including 14 wins against ranked opponents. The only losses were twice to Tufts and twice to NCAA champion Middlebury. Unfortunately, both of those teams also reside in the NESCAC. Wesleyan bids farewell to first team All-American midfielder Abby Horst, who finished with 115 career points, but welcomes back attacker Abby Manning, who set new team records with 69 goals and 84 points.

6. Tufts

The Jumbos set a schoo record for wins in a season and earned their first final four appearance in 2019, but will need to restock after losing 10 seniors, including six starters. Gone is attacker Dakota Adamec, the IWLCA Division III Player of the Year, as well as All-Americans Hedy Veith and Annie Sullivan, and goalie Audrey Evers. Second-team All-American Emily Games, who set a team record with 62 goals in 2019, is among the returnees.

Short Summary: 
William Smith, TCNJ, St. John Fisher, Wesleyan and Tufts profile as top-10 teams in 2020.
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Photographer Main Image: 
PHOTO COURTESY OF HWS ATHLETICS
Photographer Parallax: 
PHOTO BY KEITH LUCAS
Photo Main Caption: 
Second-team All-American defender Mekayla Montgomery leads a William Smith team that won 15 straight games at one point this season.
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Attacker Abby Manning (11) set Wesleyan records with 69 goals and 84 points.

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