Jan. 30, 2014
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Georgetown topped the 2014 BIG EAST Preseason Women’s Lacrosse Poll as announced by the conference on Thursday. The Hoyas claimed all seven possible first-place votes and totaled 49 points, while Connecticut earned the final first-place vote and 40 points to be tabbed runner-up. UConn’s Lauren Kahn was voted BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Louisville’s Monica Negron was selected as Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
All eight BIG EAST head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players of teams, participated in the poll.
The Hoyas are fresh off their 13th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and are guided by 10th-year head coach Ricky Fried. Georgetown finished the 2013 campaign 13-6 overall and 6-2 in BIG EAST play, earning the No. 6 seed at the NCAAs before bowing out in the second round. Fried, who led Team USA to its seventh world championship this past summer, was selected as head coach for the 2017 U.S. Women’s National Team in August.
Georgetown returns 26 letterwinners from last season’s roster, including unanimous Preseason All-BIG EAST selection Caroline Tarzian. Tarzian, a 2013 IWLCA Division I All-American Third Team honoree and All-BIG EAST First Team choice, led the Hoyas with 50 points last season off 36 goals and 14 assists. Tarzian was one of two unanimous preseason picks for GU, joined by senior midfielder Kelyn Freedman. Freedman finished third on the squad in 2013 in points (41) and first in shots (67).
Georgetown led all teams with six Preseason All-BIG EAST selections as Freedman and Tarzian were accompanied by Barbara Black, Adrianne Devine, Hannah Franklin and Casey McGowan.
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Lauren Kahn led Connecticut to runner-up honors in the preseason poll. Kahn, the 2013 BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year and second-team IWLCA All-American, registered a team-high 65 points off 42 goals and 23 assists last season. The senior out of Nanuet, N.Y., finished the year ranked 25th nationally in ground balls per game (2.56) and also among the leaders in draw controls (3.39).
Kahn was a unanimous Preseason All-BIG EAST selection, as was teammate Shannon Nee. The sophomore goalkeeper, who earned All-BIG EAST Second-Team honors in 2013, started all 18 games as a freshman, winning 11 games in the cage. Nee turned away 95 shots as the Huskies finished 13-5 overall and 5-3 against league foes. Senior Kacey Pippitt also earned Preseason All-BIG EAST recognition. Head coach Katie Woods returns for her fourth season on the sidelines. Woods was tabbed the 2013 BIG EAST Coach of the Year as the Huskies earned their first NCAA Tournament bid in program history.
BIG EAST Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Monica Negron led Louisville to its No. 3 position in the poll. A three-time second team IWLCA All-West/Midwest Region honoree, Negron caused 1.44 turnovers per game in 2013 and led the BIG EAST with 4.06 draw controls per contest, ranking 21st nationally. Her 31 ground balls led the Cardinals last year, who finished the campaign 11-6 overall and 3-5 in BIG EAST play, winning their final three tilts of the year.
Senior attacker Nikki Boltja was also a unanimous preseason selection for the Cardinals. Boltja finished 2013 ranked second nationally in goals per game (3.71), and is the BIG EAST’s top returning points earner and goal scorer from last season. She was named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List in April 2013 and earned first team IWLCA all-West/Midwest Region status. Teammate Kay Morissette rounded out Louisville’s Preseason All-BIG EAST honorees. Head coach Kellie Young enters her seventh season at UofL.
Rutgers boasts four Preseason All-BIG EAST selections and a fourth-place ranking in the poll. The Scarlet Knights went 9-8 in 2013, including 1-7 against league competition. RU returns its No. 2 goal scorer from 2013 in Megan Clements, who was joined on the conference’s preseason squad by Chelsea Intrabartola, Lauren Sbrilli and Hollie DiMuro. Laura Brand-Sias is beginning her 12th season as head coach at RU.
Temple claimed the No. 5 spot in the preseason poll. The Owls, who enter the BIG EAST for the first time in 2014 after previously competing in the Atlantic-10, finished last season with a 9-8 record. Temple returns their Nos. 3 and 4 scorers from a season ago, while Bonnie Rosen will serve on the sidelines for the eighth season as head coach of the Owls.
Villanova came in sixth in the preseason poll following a 6-10 overall record in 2013. The Wildcats return 2013 BIG EAST assists leader Jessica Mucci (39), while Amy Begay, who saw action on defense in all 16 games last season, also returns to the lineup in 2014. Head coach Julie Young enters her third season on the sidelines.
Cincinnati and Marquette tied for seventh in the preseason poll. The Bearcats finished 2013 with a 7-9 record overall, including 1-7 in BIG EAST play, while the Golden Eagles are coming off their first season of Division I lacrosse in which they went 2-15. Gina Oliver is in her second season as head coach at UC, while Meredith Black has been MU’s head mentor since the program’s inception in 2011.
Lacrosse season officially gets under way on Feb. 9 when Louisville travels to Duke. Cincinnati follows three days later at Notre Dame, before the bulk of the BIG EAST squads (Marquette at Johns Hopkins, Georgetown vs. Delaware, Connecticut vs. UMass, Rutgers at Manhattan, Temple vs. Saint Joseph’s) begin on Feb. 15. Villanova is the final league team to begin its 2014 campaign, with the Wildcats hitting the field on Feb. 22 against Michigan.
BIG EAST Preseason Poll
1. Georgetown – 49 points (seven first-place votes)
2. Connecticut – 40 points (one first-place vote)
3. Louisville – 39 points
4. Rutgers – 30 points
5. Temple – 24 points
6. Villanova – 22 points
7. Cincinnati – 10 points
Marquette – 10 points
BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Lauren Kahn, Sr., Midfielder, Connecticut
BIG EAST Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Monica Negron, Sr., Midfielder, Louisville
Preseason All-BIG EAST
Lauren Kahn, Sr., M, Connecticut^
Shannon Nee, So., GK, Connecticut^
Kacey Pippitt, Sr., A, Connecticut
Barbara Black, Sr., GK, Georgetown
Adrianne Devine, Jr., D, Georgetown
Hannah Franklin, Sr., M, Georgetown
Kelyn Freedman, Sr., M, Georgetown^
Casey McGowan, Jr., D, Georgetown
Caroline Tarzian, Jr., A, Georgetown^
Nikki Boltja, Sr., A, Louisville^
Kay Morissette, So., M, Louisville
Monica Negron, Sr., M, Louisville^
Megan Clements, Sr., A, Rutgers
Hollie DiMuro, R-Jr., Rutgers
Chelsea Intrabartola, Sr., D, Rutgers
Lauren Sbrilli, R-Jr., M, Rutgers