Morrisville State College Sits Atop 2018 NEAC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll

Morrisville State College Sits Atop 2018 NEAC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – Coming off the program’s second conference title, Morrisville State College has been selected as the top team in the 2018 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Women’s Lacrosse Preseason Poll.

Morrisville State College opens the 2018 season as the No. 1 team in the league with 78 points and six first-place votes. The Mustangs have added depth to a roster that went 8-1 in conference play and 13-6 overall in 2017. Four All-Conference selections in Gianna Branca (Camillus, N.Y.), Courtney Cavellier (Rodman, N.Y.), Celia Abbott (Shortsville, N.Y.) and Brianna Delcolle (Huntington, N.Y.) lead of group of 11 returners that will be relied upon to set the tone early in the season. The Mustangs offense will expect big contributions from Branca, Cavellier and Abbott as the trio combined for 209 points last season. First year head coach Taryn Burkholder takes over a Morrisville State squad that will face Muhlenberg, Fredonia State and Oswego State in non-conference games.

After claiming its first NEAC Regular Season Crown in 2017, Penn State Abington ranks second with 68 points and three first-place votes. The Nittany Lions will enter the 2018 season with a new face at the helm in head coach Lauren Bernard, who will look to build upon the momentum of the program’s 12-2 run last year. First Team All-NEAC selection Bridget Meade (Willow Grove, Pa.) will help anchor the Nittany Lions’ defense as she returns for her senior year while All-Conference First Team attacker Alynn Phelan (Philadelphia, Pa.) will provide power to the offense after tallying 47 goals and 11 assists in 2017. Penn State Abington’s non-conference schedule includes matchups with Ursinus College, Roanoke and Elizabethtown.

With 58 points and the final first-place vote, Medaille College finished third in the preseason rankings. Head Coach Russell Allen begins his fourth season with a mix of veteran talent and strong newcomers who will work to keep climbing the NEAC ranks. The Mavericks return two 50-goal scorers in Sarah Espe (Johnson City, N.Y.) and Emma Campagna (Clarence, N.Y.) with the pair earning All-Conference honors in 2017. All-NEAC defender Kaylie Bauer (Lancaster, N.Y.) will also be back on the field for her senior season as part of a group of seven returners. Outside of league play, some of the Mavericks’ non-conference opponents will include Goucher, Eastern and the US Merchant Marine Academy.

Keuka College and Cazenovia College rounded out the top five with 56 and 54 points, respectively. The Wolves return 10 starters from a team that went 5-4 against NEAC opponents. Keuka College’s returners are highlighted by All-Conference First Team goalie Ally Thayner (Rome, N.Y.) who posted a 6-8 record in 2017 with 151 saves.

Cazenovia College will be in rebuilding mode after losing 12 seniors and two juniors from last year’s team that advanced to the NEAC Championship game. All-Conference First Team attacker Breana Howe (Apalachin, N.Y.) will lead the Wildcats’ offense after compiling 54 goals and 18 assists in her rookie season.

The full 2018 women’s lacrosse preseason rankings can be found below:

Rank Institution (First-Place Votes) Total Points
1. Morrisville State College (6) 78
2. Penn State Abington (3) 68
3. Medaille College (1) 58
4. Keuka College  56
5. Cazenovia College 54
6. SUNY Poly 43
7. Lancaster Bible 25
8. Bryn Athyn College 25
9. Hilbert College 23
10. Wells College 20

The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the NEAC women’s lacrosse coaches, with each coach ranking all teams but their own using a staggered points system (nine points for a first-place vote, eight points for second, etc.). The 2018 NEAC women’s lacrosse season is scheduled to begin Feb. 24 with a full season schedule being available on the NEAC website

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s tennis. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.