Jan. 30, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With nine starters returning from last year’s squad, including three all-conference performers, the University of Louisville women’s lacrosse team was picked to finish third in this year’s BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll that was announced Thursday afternoon.
Along with the predicted order of finish, the conference announced its preseason offensive and defensive players of the year and its all-conference team.
Senior Monica Negron, the BIG EAST Preseason Defensive of the Year, was one of three Cardinals selected to the preseason all-conference squad. Negron and Nikki Boltja were unanimous picks, while Kaylin Morissette was named to the all-BIG EAST team as well.
“What an incredible honor for Monica and for our program,” head coach Kellie Young said. “I’m so proud of her for earning the respect of the other BIG EAST coaches. Not only is she a fierce competitor, but she's a compassionate leader and a tremendous student.”
Negron achieved second team IWLCA all-West/Midwest Region honors, becoming just the second player in school history to earn all-region honors three times in their career. A second team all-BIG EAST recipient, she ranked 21st in the country in 2013 in draw controls per game (4.1) - good enough for first in the BIG EAST - and 35th in caused turnovers per game (1.4).
Boltja, the program’s second All-American after being named a third-team member by the IWLCA, also garnered first team all-region and all-BIG EAST honors. She totaled 74 points in 17 games, including scoring 63 goals. The Medina, Ohio, native ranked second nationally in goals per game (3.7), eighth in goals, 14th in points per game (4.4), and 23rd in points. She is the BIG EAST’s top returning points earner and goal scorer from last season.
Morissette, who was playing in her first collegiate season, earned second team all-BIG EAST honors after scoring 43 goals and winning 66 draw controls. She was the program’s first freshman to achieve all-league honors.
“This is a well-deserved honor for these three student-athletes,” Young added. “They are part of our program's core; the worker-bees, passionate about the sport and their team, and driven to succeed.”
Louisville, which begins its seventh season in school history on Feb. 9 against Duke in Durham, N.C., returns 21 letterwinners from last season’s squad that went 11-6 overall and posted its best home record in program history at 8-1.
Georgetown earned seven first-place votes and was picked to win the league, while Connecticut received one first-place vote and was selected second in the poll.
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).
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.
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.
2014 BIG EAST Women’s Lacrosse Preseason Coaches’ Poll
|1. Georgetown (7)
|2. Connecticut (1)
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^
Kaylin Morissette, So., M, Louisville
Monica Negron, Sr., M, Louisville^
Chelsea Intrabartola, Sr., D, Rutgers
Lauren Sbrilli, R-Jr., M, Rutgers
Megan Clements, Sr., A, Rutgers
Hollie DiMuro, R-Jr., Rutgers