PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Rutgers University women’s lacrosse team has been picked to finish fourth in the BIG EAST Conference, in a vote by the league’s seven coaches, the league office announced on Tuesday. Senior attacker Cristina Curiale (Summit, NJ) and junior goalie Lyndsey Feldman (Ft. Myers, FL) were selected to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. Feldman was one of six unanimous selections to the 13-member team. Each coach votes for every team but their own, with six points for a first-place vote, five for second, etc.
The Scarlet Knights received a total of 20 points to place fourth, six points behind Notre Dame. Defending BIG EAST champion Georgetown was voted to defend its crown for the third consecutive season.
Rutgers is coming off a 2003 campaign that saw the Scarlet Knights post a 12-4 record, its first winning season in four years. First-year head coach Laura Brand guided a Rutgers team that was picked to finish sixth in last season’s conference preseason poll to a fourth-place finish in the league, winning three BIG EAST games for the first time in school history.
Brand’s immediate success earned her BIG EAST Women’s Lacrosse Coach of the Year laurels after just one season, an acknowledgement of the impressive turnaround she orchestrated of a program that tallied just seven wins in each of the three previous seasons.
Rutgers returns three of its top four scorers in seniors Curiale, Cali Wojdyla (Liverpool, NY), and Maggie Bopp (Lindenhurst, NY).
Curiale led the team and finished eighth in the conference in scoring last season with 37 points. She scored 11 goals, while registering a team-high 26 assists, to earn All-BIG EAST Second Team honors. The attacker finished the 2003 campaign 14th nationally in assists per game. She tied for second on RU’s single-season assist list, four shy of making it onto the career list.
Feldman, the starting goalie for the Scarlet Knights, was an All-BIG EAST First-Team and a Brine IWLCA/ US Lacrosse All-Mid-Atlantic Region Second Team pick last season after leading the conference in overall save percentage. Ranking as high as third in the national statistics, she finished the season with a .584 save percentage, fifth among Division I goalies. Feldman, Rutgers’ Most Valuable Player, was the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week twice in 2003 and was RU’s first womenslacrosse.com Player of the Week.
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 PRESEASON POLL
School Points BIG EAST Overall 2003 RECORDS 2003 FINISH
1. #*Georgetown (6) 36 6-0 1 3-4 1st
2. Syracuse (1) 29 5-1 10-6 2nd
3. Notre Dame 26 4-2 8-7 3rd
4. RUTGERS 20 3-3 12-4 4th
5. Connecticut 16 1-5 8-8 6th
6. Boston College 15 2-4 9-6 5th
7. Virginia Tech 6 0-6 3-14 7th
First-place votes in parentheses * - 2003 BIG EAST Champion # - unanimous selection
PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Leigh-Ann Zimmer, Syracuse, Sr., M
PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Michi Ellers, Georgetown, Sr., M
PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST TEAM
Christina Curiale, Rutgers, Sr., A
Michi Ellers, Georgetown, Sr., M*
Lyndsey Feldman, Rutgers, Jr., G*
Monica Joines, Syracuse, Jr., M*
Andrea Kinnik, Notre Dame, Sr., M/D
Gloria Lozano, Georgetown, Sr., M*
Tracy Mullaney, Connecticut, Jr., A*
Anouk Peters, Georgetown, Sr., A
Meredith Simon, Notre Dame, Sr., M/A
Kate Threadgold, Virginia Tech, Sr., A
Stephanie Walker, Syracuse, So., M
Jackie Yovankin, Boston Collge, Jr., M
Leigh-Ann Zimmer, Syracuse, Sr., M*
* - unanimous selection a tie in the voting created an additional position on the preseason team