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  • Writer's pictureEmma Treptow

NCAA Women's College Lacrosse Returns

Nine months after UNC completed their perfect season with a national championship win over Boston College, NCAA women’s lacrosse is back, having kicked off this past weekend, February 11-12. The season will span from February to May with the NCAA tournament happening throughout most of the month of May.

With no surprise, the defending national champions were atop of the Insider Lacrosse preseason poll with Maryland and Boston College rounding out the top three. UNC beat Boston College 12-11 in last year’s national championships after being knocked out by the Eagles in the two previous tournaments. They were 22-0 on the season, knocking out Virginia, Stony Brook, and Northwestern in the tournament on the way to the title. The team lost five seniors last season, most notably Jamie Ortega, Ally Mastroianni, and Sam Geiersbach. But now it’s time for Caitlyn Wurzberger.

Wurzberger was the top recruit in her class but with the class talent before her, she’s often been put on the back burner. Now it’s her time to shine. UNC are adding Lauren Figura from Saint Joseph’s, plus freshmen Caroline Godine and Marissa White to their front lines. Led by long-time head coach, Jenny Levy, UNC will have another shot for their fourth national title. UNC opened their season with a 14-9 win over #12 James Madison; Reilly Casey led the way for the Tar Heels with three goals and three assists while Wurzberger had two goals and three assists. Freshman Marissa White had a convincing debut as she scored five goals.

Maryland made their way back to the final four last season with the help of Aurora Cordingley and despite her leaving, they are left with a good backbone. With a record of 19-2 overall last season and an undefeated Big Ten season, head coach Cathy Reese will hope to try and get her team to the national championship game again.

Maryland women's lacrosse team celebrates a goal in their first win of the season over St. Joseph's. Photo courtesy of @MarylandWLax /Twitter

They are returning Libby May who had 64 goals and 14 assists and Hannah Leubecker with 62 goals and 9 assists; the two of them will be at the forefront of Maryland’s success this season. Eloise Clevenger will also be taking a bigger role after playing alongside Cordingley, with Reese ready for her to take the reins. Maryland’s first game was a 15-5 win over Saint Joseph’s; Clevenger recorded one goal and four assists, Chrissy Thomas had three goals and one assists while Leubecker had a two-goal game.

Boston College will be without Charlotte North this season, an impact that they may not see right away with the talent they still have but as the year goes on, she’s a player you will begin to miss. The Eagles finished last season with a 19-4 record, 6-2 in the ACC. Rounding out the top three in the preseason poll, the 2021 champions have another season with Jenn Medjid. Medjid scored 74 goals last season and recorded 28 assists. The graduate student will be teaming up with Belle Smith.

Belle Smith holding her stick during a Boston College women's lacrosse game. Photo courtesy of Boston College Athletics

The sophomore midfielder broke out onto the scene as a freshman helping the Eagles win it all. She followed up her incredible freshmen season with a 55-goal, 28-assist campaign. Courtney Weeks is also back from injury after missing her senior season. She helped launch the Eagles towards their national championship in 202, scoring 28 total goals and two in the national championship game. The Eagles started their 2023 campaign extremely strong as they routed #18 USC 14-3; Medjid scored five goals while Smith had three goals and one assist. Sophomore Mckenna Davis recorded two goals and five assists.

Northwestern and Syracuse were #4 and #5 respectively in the Insider Lacrosse preseason poll and faced off in the first game of the season in a rematch of last year’s NCAA quarterfinal where the Wildcats routed the Orange 15-4. Nine months later, Syracuse edged Northwestern 16-15 in a thrilling competition. For Northwestern, Izzy Scane returned from her torn ACL after missing the entire 2022 season to score five goals and recorded two assists in her return.

Another five goals were scored by Northwestern freshman, Madison Taylor. Syracuse saw both Emma Ward and Emma Tyrrell return from knee injuries to score in the Orange’s opener. Ward scored two goals and added three assists.

Tyrrell had a hat trick while also picking up an assist. With one top-five win in the books for Syracuse, there’s hope to see them return in the final four given everyone can stay healthy. For Northwestern, they will look to bounce back in their next two games as they play Norte Dame and Boston College at home.

The current Inside Lacrosse Week 1 poll is as follows:

  1. North Carolina (1-0)

  2. Maryland (1-0)

  3. Boston College (1-0)

  4. Syracuse (1-0)

  5. Northwestern (0-1)

  6. Stony Brook (0-0)

  7. Florida (1-0)

  8. Rutgers (1-0)

  9. Loyola (0-0)

  10. Denver (2-0)

  11. Duke (1-0)

  12. James Madison (0-1)

  13. Virginia (2-0)

  14. Notre Dame (1-0)

  15. Stanford (0-1)

  16. Princeton (0-0)

  17. Michigan (1-1)

  18. Johns Hopkins (1-0)

  19. Jacksonville (2-0)

  20. USC (0-1)

  21. Richmond (1-0)

  22. Yale (0-0)

  23. UMass (1-0)

  24. Louisville (1-1)

  25. Vanderbilt (1-1)


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