LANCASTER, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's lacrosse team was voted ninth in the Centennial Conference preseason poll.
Two-time defending national champion Gettysburg was a unanimous choice as the favorite of the conference coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams. The Bullets sat atop the poll with 81 points and nine first-place votes, with runner-up Franklin & Marshall (73 points) nabbing the remaining first-place ballot.
Dickinson (58 points), Haverford (57), and Washington College (51) were in a tight bunch rounding out the projected playoff field. Muhlenberg (44) was sixth, followed by Swarthmore (29), McDaniel (27), Ursinus (21), and Bryn Mawr (9).
The Bears hope to bounce back from a tough 2018 that culminated in a 3-12 overall record and a 1-8 mark in conference play, bolstered by the return of an all-conference star and a lineup that will feature seven of the top nine scorers from last season.
Senior midfielder Bridget Sherry is back in the fold, an instant jolt of talent for eighth-year head coach Katie Hagan Duffie. The 2016 CC rookie of the year, Sherry led the team with 22 caused turnovers as a sophomore the following year; she recorded 13 goals and eight assists in each of her first two seasons, racking up 45 draw controls as a freshman.
Another senior, Kaci McNeave, missed basketball season due to a torn ACL but will be on hand for this lacrosse campaign after finishing with 13 goals and topping the team in assists (10), draw controls (73), and ground balls (33). Sophomore Katherine Eckhoff, a fellow member of the basketball program, started 11 games in the midfield as a rookie, while sophomore Abby Krasutsky produced six goals and three assists in 12 games (two starts). Sophomore Alyssa Penny started all 15 games in her debut campaign.
Senior Emily DiGiorgio headlines the Bears' attack after tallying a team-leading 31 goals a year ago, 11 of them on free-position attempts. Classmate Abby Goldstein has posted 16 goals in each of the last three seasons, while sophomores Grace Langen (6 goals, 6 assists) and Hannah Reape (7 goals, 1 assist) and junior Haley O'Malley (7 goals, 1 assist) provide additional scoring punch.
With 32 starts under her belt, senior Emily Blaszkow will anchor the Ursinus defense after ranking sixth in the Centennial with 24 caused turnovers in 2018; she was also third on the team in both ground balls (26) and draw controls (20). Down to starting defenders from last season, sophomore Molly Divis (5 caused turnovers in 14 games) figures to step into an expanded role, and junior Julia Gilpin started three games a year ago.
Senior Kaitlyn France ranked fourth in the conference in saves (125) and save percentage (.433) last season, her second as the regular starting goalkeeper.
The Bears open the 2019 season at home against Cabrini on Tuesday, February 19.