PHILADELPHIA- After a 2007 season that saw them win the Ivy title and advance to the NCAA semifinal round, the University of Pennsylvania women’s lacrosse team was selected sixth in the Lacrosse Magazine 2008 preseason national poll, released Wednesday.
Led by last year’s consensus Coach of the Year, Karin Brower, Penn pulled off one of the nation’s most dramatic turnarounds, improving from 10-6 in 2006 to 16-2 in 2007. The Quakers won their first Ivy League title in a quarter-century and earned their first NCAA berth since 1984. Brower coached the Quakers to a No. 2 national ranking behind a stifling defense that also ranked second in the country. The Quakers ran the table in the Ivy League, and their only two losses during the season came to eventual nation champion Northwestern.
The Quakers return 19 players from a year ago, including their second-leading scorer Rachel Manson (Sr., 36g, 8a), 2007 C. Markland Kelly National Goalkeeper of the Year Sarah Waxman (6.51 GAA, .518 SV%), defender and Tewaaraton Award nominee Hilary Renna, and unanimous Ivy League Rookie of the Year Ali DeLuca (34g, 8a).
Three-time defending champion Northwestern was ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll, while 2007 NCAA semifinalists Virginia and Duke rounded out the top three. Among Ivy teams, Princeton is right behind the Quakers at No. 7, while Yale is ranked 10th and Dartmouth is 18th.
Penn kicksoff the season Feb. 24 at Drexel. Game time is set for 1 p.m.
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NCAA Division I Women
8. North Carolina
9. Johns Hopkins
12. Notre Dame
14. James Madison
15. Penn State
17. Boston University