Women's Lacrosse Tabbed No. 1 In Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll
Feb. 4, 2014
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Five-time defending league champion Massachusetts has been picked atop the 2014 Atlantic 10 Conference Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll.
The Minutewomen, who have earned four berths in the NCAA Tournament during their record run of A-10 titles, earned 63 total points and seven first-place votes in the poll. Last season, UMass went 7-0 in league play and 18-3 overall and advanced to the Second-Round of the NCAA Tournament. Returning A-10 Offensive Player of the Year Katie Ferris is back in the mix for UMass. The senior All-American registered 52 goals and 23 assists for a total of 75 points in 2013. Fellow All-American Kelsey McGovern anchors the Minutewomen defense. The senior was named First-Team All Atlantic 10 last season after grabbing 110 draw controls, forcing 39 turnovers and picking up 38 groundballs in 2013.
The 2013 season saw UMass post a NCAA first round victory over Connecticut before falling to seventh-seeded Penn State in the second round. The win over Connecticut marked the first time since 1984 that UMass had advanced past the first round of the the Big Dance.
The Minutewomen finished the 2013 campaign with an 18-3 overall record and a 7-0 mark in the Atlantic 10. That marked the third consecutive year UMass had finished league play with an undefeated record.
Over the last three years, UMass is 54-8 overall and 21-0 in the Atlantic 10.
Along with Ferris and McGovern, the Minutewomen return eight of their top 10 scorers and nine of 12 starters. In addition to Ferris on attack, Sam Rush, who tallied 73 points on 65 goals returns alongside the Minutewomen's top midfielder in Tanner Guarino (48 points). UMass returns three of its starting four defenders from a year ago along with goalie Rachel Vallarelli who started 14 games.
Duquesne garnered the final first place vote and a total of 54 points to finish second in the poll. Duquesne is coming off a 2013 season in which they went 11-7 and advanced to the A-10 Championship game before falling to UMass. Reigning A-10 Defensive Player of the Year Kristen Gregory will be back in the cage for the Dukes in 2014. Gregory allowed just 9.52 goals per game last season, making 137 saves and posting a .437 save percentage.
George Washington was slotted third in the poll with 44 points, just two points ahead of Richmond which received 42 points. The Colonials went 9-8 last season overall and 4-3 in league play. Second-Team All-Conference Jamie Bumgardner returns for GW following a 2013 campaign in which she scored 18 goals and dished out 39 assists for a total of 57 points.
Following the Spiders in fifth-place was the A-10's newest member George Mason (26 pts.), La Salle (25 pts.), Saint Joseph (25 pts.) and St. Bonaventure (11 pts.).
The 2014 Atlantic 10 Championship will be held at Robins Stadium on the campus of the University of Richmond from May 2-4.
2014 Atlantic 10 Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll