PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Rutgers University women’s lacrosse team has been recognized in the Lacrosse Magazine Division I preseason Women’s Lacrosse rankings, released on Dec. 11. Lacrosse Magazine’s preseason rankings includes a top-20 poll and three teams “on the bubble,” one of which is Rutgers.
The ranking comes on the heels of a 2003 season that saw the Scarlet Knights post a 12-4 record under first-year head coach Laura Brand. Brand was voted the BIG EAST Women’s Lacrosse Coach of the Year in her inaugural season as the mentor of her alma matar, guiding RU to its first winning season in four years.
Brand led a Rutgers resurgence that featured three league victories for the first time in school history to place fourth in the BIG EAST, after being picked sixth in the conference’s preseason poll.
The Scarlet Knights return eight starters from last season, including three of its top four scorers in senior attackers Cristina Curiale (Summit, NJ), Cali Wojdyla (Liverpool, NY) and Maggie Bopp (Lindenhurst, NY). RU also returns its starting goalie, junior Lyndsey Feldman (Ft. Meyers, FL). Feldman, Rutgers’ Most Valuable Player last season, was a first team All-BIG EAST selection and a Second Team Brine IWLCA/ US Lacrosse All-Mid-Atlantic Region pick last season after posting a .548 save percentage, fifth among Division I goalies. Curiale was a Second Team All-BIG EAST selection last season.
Rutgers is one of five BIG EAST schools recognized in the magazine’s first poll of the season, joining Georgetown (fifth), Syracuse (10th), Notre Dame (16th) and Connecticut (on the bubble).
Rutgers will once again face a challenging schedule this coming spring, that includes seven teams – Georgetown (fifth), Syracuse (10th), Cornell (12th), Old Dominion (15th), Notre Dame (16th), Yale (17th) and Connecticut (on the bubble), that have been recognized by Lacrosse Magazine.
The Scarlet Knights first entered the national spotlight last season after upsetting 14th-ranked Yale, 15-12, on April 9, to move up to 20th nationally in the Brine/IWLCA Coaches Poll, a spot RU maintained for three consecutive weeks.
Preseason rankings were compiled by Lacrosse Magazine staff in consultation with collegiate coaches. Lacrosse Magazine is an official publication of US Lacrosse, the national governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse.
Rutgers will open its 2004 schedule with an exhibition contest at eighth-ranked Loyola on Feb. 22. The Scarlet Knights’ first regular season game will be Feb. 28 at home against Northwestern at 1 p.m.
2004 Lacrosse Magazine Preseason College Rankings
7. James Madison
9. Ohio State
11. Boston University
13. North Carolina
14. Penn State
15. Old Dominion
16. Notre Dame
18. Johns Hopkins
On the bubble: RUTGERS, Connecticut, Massachusetts