Welcome to the inaugural College Crosse women’s lacrosse power rankings. Almost every Division-I program has played a game this season (save for Bryant, Coastal Carolina, Delaware State, George Mason, Howard, Loyola, Siena and UMass Lowell, all of whom will begin within the next week).
For the 106 teams that have played, 30 are undefeated. Boston College, Duke, and James Madison are the three squads sitting at 3-0, and they are rewarded handsomely with a spot in our rankings.
No. 1 — Maryland Terrapins (2-0)
The Terps have been steady through their first two games, rolling over William and Mary as expected, then taking a tight one on the road against a strong Florida team.
Only eight of Maryland’s 34 goals this season have been assisted, a testament to the team’s one-on-one ability.
No. 2 — Stony Brook Seawolves (2-0)
The women from Long Island opened the season in California, knocking off USC and Stanford in a pair of easy victories. Against the Trojans, Courtney Murphy notched eight points, while Kylie Ohlmiller recorded seven points against the Cardinal. But the Seawolves leading scorer? Taryn Ohlmiller, who has eight goals and four assists. Good luck stopping that offense.
Eighteen of Stony Brook’s 29 goals this season have been assisted, a testament to the team’s passing ability.
No. 3 — Syracuse Orange (3-0)
This team is doing incredible things in the offensive zone, scoring 40 goals in their first two games. The Orange have been getting it done with a balanced scoring attack, with no one player registering more than seven points so far.
The Orange will host the Great Danes at the Carrier Dome on Thursday, hoping to fare better than their male counterparts. As long as Tehoka Nanticoke doesn’t get off that bus, I think they’ll be just fine.
No. 4 — Boston College Eagles (3-0)
It has been the Sam Apuzzo show for BC, with the junior’s point total at a nation’s best 20 so far. In goal, fellow Long Islander Lauren Daly has made 53 percent of her saves.
The team’s best offensive weapon, Kenzie Kent, is still playing hockey for the third-best hockey team in the NCAA. When she switches sticks, this Eagles squad will be elite.
No. 5 — Florida Gators (1-1)
Our first team on the board with a loss, the Gators won the draw control battle with Maryland over the weekend and stayed competitive, but fell short in the end.
Keep an eye on the Pirreca sisters this season. Sydney, the younger sibling, has seven goals through two games, while Shayna has scored five.
No. 6 — James Madison Dukes (3-0)
The Dukes opened up their season by knocking off two ACC opponents, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. Seniors Kristen Gaudian and Elena Romesburg each have 12 goals so far.
The date circled on the calendar now? March 7, when they’ll take on Penn State, another struggling power.
No. 7 — Navy Midshipmen (2-0)
The women from the academy continue to fly beneath the radar, even after a Final Four run in 2017. Senior Jenna Collins is one of the best midfielders in the nation and with little resistance in the Patriot League, Navy is likely to make a deep postseason run again.
Next Tuesday will be a rematch with Boston College, who Navy fell to 16-15 in the national semis last season.
No. 8 — USC Trojans (1-1)
The Trojans slipped up in their home opener to the Seawolves on Friday. No shame in that.
Grad transfer Maeve McMahon from Harvard has been impressive so far, scoring two goals against Virginia Tech and three against Stony Brook.
USC has a tricky road trip lined up for the weekend against Northwestern and Notre Dame, after which we’ll have a better idea of where those three teams stand nationally.
No. 9 — North Carolina (2-1)
Is it a tad overreactive to have the Tar Heels this low, with their only loss on the road against a strong James Madison team? Perhaps. North Carolina will have a chance to rise high in the rankings this weekend, though, when the team plays Maryland at home.
No. 10 — Towson Tigers (2-0)
Head coach Sonia LaMonica’s team followed up a huge opening win against Penn State with a blowout defeat over Georgetown, in which Towson scored 21 goals, its most since dropping 22 on Stetson last year.
No. 11 — Princeton Tigers (1-0)
More Tigers! Hide! Princeton, the reigning Ivy champs, opened up its season with a dominant 17-4 showing on the road against Temple. Freshman Kyla Sears, who US Lacrosse named the top high school player in the nation in 2017, recorded four goals and two assists in her collegiate debut.
No. 12 — Duke Blue Devils (3-0)
Speaking of freshmen, Charlotte North has 12 goals through three games, including three in a 9-8 victory against Northwestern. The ACC is so deep this season, and if North continues to produce at the clip that she has, then Duke is right in the mix. She played high school ball in Texas, a usual lacrosse hub (wink, wink).
No. 13 — Northwestern Wildcats (3-1)
Selena Lasota has been everything the Wildcats have hoped for in her return from injury, already with 12 goals and six assists this season.
Northwestern will play at home for the next month, but four of the six teams will be against teams in the top-10 of these rankings.
No. 14 — Virginia Cavaliers (1-0)
Ho hum, another ACC team in the rankings. The Cavaliers cruised in their first game against Elon, 17-4. Tonight, the team will play Richmond and Megan Gianforte, a goalie for the Spiders that might actually have eight legs. She has 22 saves and seven goals against in two games.
No. 15 — Penn State Nittany Lions (1-1)
Penn State has lost by one on the road to Towson and won by one on the road to Lehigh. Look, this team is going to be alright. There’s too much talent there for them not to be. So far, the Nittany Lions have been successful on just 70 percent of clears, which is pretty low for an elite women’s program. Cutting on the turnovers will be an emphasis at State College before the Big Ten schedule begins.
No. 16 — Denver Pioneers (2-0)
“Denver has a women’s team?”
They do, and they’re playing quite well. Over the weekend, Denver played on the road against Louisville and held the Cardinals to just five goals on their home field. Carson Gregg is a legitimate goalie and the Pioneers have a bit more firepower on offense than in recent years. They’ll have a huge test this weekend on the road in front of a big crowd for Stony Brook’s home opener.
No. 17 — Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-1)
Another ACC squad, the Fighting Irish fell at home in the opener to Boston College, but the offense exploded in road qins against mid-major teams Jacksonville and Stetson. Junior Nikki Ortega has 10 goals to lead the team, as Notre Dame surveys its roster for someone to fill the absence of Cortney Fortunato and her 224 career goals.
No. 18 — Penn Quakers (1-0)
Senior midfielder Alex Condon is the top returning scorer for the Quakers, and she scored four goals in the team’s opening win against Delaware. Penn is one of three teams that figure to compete for the Ivy League.
No. 19 — Richmond Spiders (2-0)
The Spiders opened their season with a pair of wins over Campbell and American. Sam Geiersbach, the reigning A-10 Rookie of the Year, suffered a season-ending injury during the preseason, but senior Kim Egizi has stepped up. She has 12 goals and four assists through two games.
No. 20 — Cornell Big Red (1-0)
Like the other Ivy League schools, Cornell has only played one game so far, so it is difficult to evaluate. Over the weekend, the Big Red won against the Villanova Wildcats, 13-7. Villanova recorded 25 shots on goal in that one, but Katie McGahan was incredible for Cornell, turning back 18 of them.
Other teams considered:
Stanford is still a talented team, even after two opening losses to two tough teams ... Bryant and Loyola are two mid-majors that haven’t hit the field yet, but figure to have strong teams within their conference this year ... UMass still has a dynamic offense, although they had to eke out a win against a questionable opponent in their opener ... Virginia Tech and Louisville are still ACC teams and should not be taken lightly despite early struggles ... Johns Hopkins also sits at 2-0; it’ll be interesting to see how that team fares against Loyola.