New Haven, Conn. (2/7/17) Defending champion Philadelphia University was tabbed first in the 2017 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Women's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches Poll, as announced on Tuesday by Commissioner Dan Mara. The Rams received 94 points in the voting and five first-place votes, as the league's 10 head coaches in the sport cast their votes to complete the preseason poll.
The Dominican College women's lacrosse squad was picked to finish seventh in the poll.
Joining PhilaU in the top three were Chestnut Hill College (2nd, 89 pts, 4 1st-place votes) and Georgian Court University (3rd, 77 pts). Holy Family University was fourth in the voting (67 pts, 1 1st place), as the four teams which advanced to the conference's 2016 final four made up the top-four spots in the 2017 preseason rankings.
The Rams are expected to return the services of three All-CACC performers from a season ago, including 2016 defensive player of the year Isabella DiGnazio. The senior midfielder will also be joined by attackers Kathryn Avanzato and Laura Dunne, as the latter two earned a spot on the 2016 All-CACC Second Team. PhilaU downed Holy Family in last year's semifinals and then knocked off CHC in the final to claim the program's second CACC Championship in the last three seasons.
Chestnut Hill surged up the standings in 2016 and made it all the way to the final before coming up just short against the Rams. However, the Griffins return four All-CACC performers from a season ago, as they look to complete their mission in 2017. The four all-league honorees who return for Chestnut Hill include attackers Samantha Herron and Jacklyn O'Leary, midfielder Hunter Leckonby and goalie Katie Joe Lang.
Georgian Court will benefit from the return of Xena Valenzuela, who earned first-team all-conference honors as a midfielder in 2016. The Lions will be younger this season, as they welcome six newcomers into the fold.
The remainder of the 2017 preseason poll featured Caldwell University (5th, 62 pts), Wilmington University (6th, 51 pts), Dominican College (7th, 40 pts), Nyack College (8th, 33 pts), Post University (9th, 25 pts) and Felician University (10th, 12 pts).
The top-six teams in the regular season standings will advance to the CACC Championship tournament, which will be held April 25, 29-30. The first and second-place teams in the standings following the regular season will get a bye into championship weekend at Georgian Court University, while the first round will feature the third seed hosting the sixth seed and the fifth seed traveling to the fourth seed. The two first-round winners will advance to the semifinals.
ABOUT THE CACC
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician University, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Nyack College, Philadelphia University, Post University of Waterbury, University of the Sciences, and Wilmington University.
2017 CACC WOMEN'S LACROSSE PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Philadelphia University 94 (5)
2. Chestnut Hill College 89 (4)
3. Georgian Court University 77
4. Holy Family University 67 (1)
5. Caldwell University 62
6. Wilmington University 51
7. Dominican College 40
8. Nyack College 33
9. Post University 25
10. Felician University 12
() - First-Place Votes