While the 2019 college lacrosse season ended just a couple weeks ago, US Lacrosse Magazine takes its first look at the 2020 prospects. Over the next five days, we will rank the top 25 teams in an initial forecast.
Up first: No. 20-16.
No. 20 GEORGETOWN
2019 record: 12-9 (3-2 Big East)
Last seen: Falling in a spirited effort at Syracuse in the NCAA second round, capping a happy surprise to the end of the season
Senior starters lost: 119 of 252 (47.2 percent)
Senior scoring departing: 141 of 261 (54.0 percent)
Initial forecast: Georgetown gets it done when it has to. Replacing its top three scorers will be difficult, but a talented core led by Michaela Bruno (34g, 13a) and do-everything Natalia Lynch will be key leaders in 2020. Lynch led the team in caused turnovers (27) and ranked second in ground balls (43), while pulling down 56 draws and 22 goals, all of which was done despite missing four games. A stout and experienced defense of Katie Hudson (47 GB, 23 CT), Noelle Peragine (25 GB, 22 CT) and Mollie Miller (24 GB, 13 CT) will front a new starting goalie. The Hoyas placement in the Big East will continue to see top-two finishes and a path to the NCAA tournament.
No. 19 DUKE
2019 record: 11-8 (2-5 ACC)
Last seen: Winning an inconsequential game against VCU on Selection Sunday, eventually being the first team left out of the NCAA tournament
Senior starters lost: 66 of 228 (28.9 percent)
Senior scoring departing: 28 of 288 (26.4 percent)
Initial forecast: Duke will be looking for some positive mojo in 2020. After missing the past three NCAA tournaments either through record ineligibility or ineffective at-large profile, the Blue Devils have the goods returning to earn a spot in the field of 28. Nine of Duke’s 12 starters will return including its prolific scorer and starting goalkeeper. With 105-point scorer Charlotte North (82g, 23a) leading the offense, someone will need to help her out following the graduation of Olivia Jenner (59g, 23a, 150 DC). Jenner’s younger sister, Maddie, will be the new feature in the center circle after earning 88 draws in 2019. How the likes of Catherine Cordrey (27g), Abby Landry (20g) and Katie Cronin (18g) step up will be key to Duke’s success.
No. 18 COLORADO
2019 record: 11-8 (8-2 Pac-12)
Last seen: In the NCAA second round, losing 21-9 to eventual finalists Boston College
Senior starters lost: 78 of 228 (34.2 percent)
Senior scoring departing: 137 of 223 (61.4 percent)
Initial forecast: Colorado faces the prospect of replacing its top two scorers, Miranda Stinson and Samantha Nemirov, who combined for 115 goals last season. The Buffaloes’ success will reside in their defense, however, because nine of their 11 wins came when allowing fewer than 12 goals in a game. Julia Lisella is a two-time All-Pac-12 performer in net and will be a senior in 2020. Rising junior Sadie Grozier (36g, 10a) will be the team’s top scoring threat following her All-Pac-12 second-team showing in 2019.
No. 17 FLORIDA
2019 record: 14-7 (5-0 American Athletic)
Last seen: Losing by just four goals at North Carolina in the NCAA second round
Senior starters lost: 129 of 252 (51.2 percent)
Senior scoring departing: 169 of 324 (52.2 percent)
Initial forecast: With half the team’s starts and goals from last season lost due to graduation, it will be a next-woman-up situation for Amanda O’Leary’s squad in 2020. Up front, Shannon Kavanagh (69g, 26a) and Grace Haus (39g, 12a) will be responsible for leading Florida’s offense, while supporting cast members Brianna Harris (21g, 22a and Hanna Mardiney (8g, 10a) will have greater roles. The draw will be solidified with Kavanagh (93 DC) and Sabrina Cristodero (75 DC), which will allow the Gators extra possessions for its typical potent offense. Although replacing an All-American like Lindsey Ronbeck is especially difficult, figuring out a new goalie for the first time in four years will be a great challenge as Haley Hicklen has graduated.
No. 16 NAVY
2019 record: 16-5 (8-1 Patriot League)
Last seen: Having its comeback upset bid at Virginia fall three goals short in the NCAA second round
Senior starters lost: 91 of 252 (36.1 percent)
Senior scoring departing: 42 of 323 (13.0 percent)
Initial forecast: The Midshipmen might be a dark horse pick to reach championship weekend once again as over 85 percent of its scoring returns in 2020. The question mark of how the team defense regroups with new pieces in place will be key. The Mids struggled to hold off high-caliber teams, allowing 17 goals per game in six losses as opposed to its 8.5 average in 16 wins. Tewaaraton nominee Kelly Larkin (69g, 52a), Nicole Victory (32g, 31a), Kayla Harris (37g, 14a) and Annalise Heyqward (34g, 16a) highlight the top of the scoring lineup. Rising sophomore Reagan Roelofs (25g, 146 DC) is a beast in the midfield as well. With Hall of Fame coach Cindy Timchal patrolling the sidelines, the Mids are a formidable program that will be looking for its fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
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