Believe it or not, a brand-new season of NCAA Division III women’s lacrosse is quickly approaching – are you ready for some lacrosse?
Yes, we know it is late December, but games (and yes, practices, too) will be starting up in a few weeks. And we are excited for another season of coverage.
Before we officially begin a new season, allow us to highlight a few teams’ fans of small college lacrosse that should keep their eyes on in the coming weeks and months.
Denison University: The Big Red made its initial appearance in the NCAA semifinals this past spring but saw their championship bid conclude with a 20-10 setback to Salisbury University.
Despite the setback, Denison will once again be a team to watch next spring – the Big Red have won 43 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) games, including five in 2021.
Casey McTague returns after being named the conference’s midfielder of the year – the Arlington, Virginia native recorded 41 points on 36 goals and five assists in 12 contests to go with a career-best 56 draw controls and 18 ground balls.
Coach Amanda Daniels and her squad will begin its 2022 campaign against Butler University on Saturday, February 19 before visiting Gettysburg College one week later.
Messiah University: 2021 was a historic season for the Falcons, which had its 18-game winning streak snapped in the national quarterfinals.
Despite ending its season with a four-goal setback to St. John Fisher in May, Messiah should once again be back in the mix, not only for a Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) crown but also a deep postseason run.
Rachel Delate returns for her third season with the Blue and White – she was named the MAC Commonwealth Offensive Player and Rookie of the Year this past season after producing a team-high (and yes, conference-best) 63 goals and 60 assists for a new single-season record of 123 total points.
The Falcons will begin their 2022 campaign at home against the University of Scranton on Saturday, February 19.
Middlebury College: After a year away from the field due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Panthers will certainly be a team to watch next spring — their season officially begins Saturday, March 5 with a visit to Bowdoin College.
When we last saw the Blue and White compete, Middlebury was celebrating a 14-9 victory in the national championship game against Salisbury University.
Middlebury has appeared in the national title game three times since 2016 and will look to make its fourth trip in six seasons.
Jane Earley is expected to lead the attack – the North Falmouth, Massachusetts native was a player to watch in 2019 as she concluded her team’s championship season with 68 points on 51 goals and 17 assists while registering 50 draw controls and 26 ground balls.
Salisbury University: After posting a 20-0 overall record this past season, it will be hard to overlook this Sea Gulls squad that returns some key pieces from its championship unit, including Lydia McNulty, who was named to the USA Lacrosse Magazine’s first team.
The Annapolis, Maryland native enjoyed her best season with Salisbury this past spring, tallying a career-high 72 points on 62 goals and 10 assists to go with 18 ground balls and three draw controls. McNulty, along with Caroline McKenna, Erin Scannell, and Lauren Valenti are just a few players to watch on this Sea Gulls squad, which should be in the national championship mix again next May.
Salisbury will commence its 2022 season by visiting Stevenson University on Saturday, February 12.
St. John Fisher: The Cardinals’ historic season concluded in the national semifinals, but Fisher’s 2021 campaign did include 18 wins, including four wins against nationally-ranked opponents.
Fisher’s 18 wins were the second-most victories a Cardinals squad has recorded in program history – can they duplicate that performance next spring?
Sydney DeGirolamo will be the player to watch on the Maroon and White next spring after becoming the program’s first-ever First-Team All-American. DeGirolamo led Division III in draw controls (155) while pacing the Cardinals in assists (41) and points (78).
Fisher will visit Stevenson University on Saturday, March 5 for its first game of the 2022 season.
Tufts University: An impressive 2021 campaign concluded with a heartbreaking defeat in the national championship — the Jumbos’ 10-game winning streak was snapped with a 14-13 setback to Salisbury.
Tufts had never competed in the championship game in previous seasons, but perhaps this defeat will fuel the Powder Blue and White to return to the national finals next spring.
The Jumbos will return some key pieces from its 2021 squad, including Anna Clarke, who produced a career-best 19 points on 16 goals and three assists in 11 contests to go with 43 draw controls, and Molly Laliberty, who was named the 2021 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division III Goalie of the Year.
The Jumbos’ 2022 campaign will officially begin on Saturday, March 5 at Colby College.
University of Chicago: The Maroons were a team to watch this past spring, posting an 11-2 overall record, including a 4-1 mark against members of the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW). Additionally, Chicago claimed its first-ever conference tournament crown, as well as made its debut in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Chicago’s run toward its initial national title concluded in the quarterfinals against Dension University.
The Maroons will attempt to continue their 2021 momentum next spring — Lally Johnson (12 goals and 31 assists) and Ali Sheehy (35 goals and eight assists) both return after leading the squad with 43 points, respectively.
Chicago will commence its fourth season in program history on Saturday, February 26 when they host Bates College.
Other teams to watch in 2022: Catholic University, Franklin & Marshall, Ithaca College, John Carroll, SUNY Cortland, TCNJ, Trinity College, Washington & Lee, William Smith, York College,