Feb. 4, 2010
Providence, R.I. – The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team, the defending BIG EAST champions, has been selected to finish third in the annual BIG EAST preseason poll in voting done by the league’s head coaches. Defending regular-season champ, Georgetown, was selected in the top spot while Syracuse was picked for second. The Hoyas received four first-place votes to three for Syracuse and two for the Irish.
Overall, the Hoyas recorded 59 points with Syracuse getting 57. The Irish were third with 54, just five points behind first-place Georgetown. Loyola (Md.) was selected fourth with 43 points and was followed by Louisville (34), Rutgers (32), Connecticut (21), Cincinnati (16) and Villanova is last with eight points. The Wildcats will be making their BIG EAST debut this season.
Notre Dame is coming off a 2009 campaign that saw them finish third in the BIG EAST with a 5-2 mark while going 16-5 overall. The Irish won their first-ever BIG EAST title by defeating Syracuse, 16-10, in the conference semifinals and then host-team Georgetown, 12-10, in the title game. Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the program’s history and won a 19-13 decision versus Vanderbilt in the opening game before falling at North Carolina, 16-10, in the quarterfinals. The Irish finished the year ranked sixth in the final IWLCA poll, the highest season ending ranking in the program’s history.
The BIG EAST also announced its preseason all-BIG EAST team and its preseason offensive and defensive players of the year. Leading the way of the Irish was senior attack standout Gina Scioscia (Summit, N.J.) who was named the preseason offensive player of the year and a unanimous preseason all-BIG EAST selection. She was joined on the all-BIG EAST team by junior midfielder Shaylyn Blaney (Stony Brook, N.Y.) and senior defender Rachel Guerrera (Wantagh, N.Y.).
Rachel Guerrera is the leader of the Notre Dame defense. She is a first time preseason all-BIG EAST selection.
Scioscia is the first Notre Dame player to be named preseason offensive player of the year and makes her first appearance on the preseason all-BIG EAST team. A unanimous selection, the talented playmaker is coming off the best season of her career in 2009 when she was a second team all-BIG EAST selection and an IWLCA/U.S. Lacrosse second team All-American. She enters the 2010 season as the team’s top returning scorer after she finished second in scoring a year ago with career highs in goals (53), a school record for assists (43) and 96 points. The 53 goals were the sixth-best total in the program’s history while the 96 points was the third highest. Her totals were fifth in the NCAA in points and sixth in assists for the year. Scioscia is Notre Dame’s all-time assist leader with 82 assists while ranking ninth in goals (77) and sixth in points (159). She will serve as one of the team’s captains this season.
Blaney makes her second consecutive appearance on the all-BIG EAST preseason team and is one of four juniors selected this season. As a sophomore in 2009, she was a first team all-BIG EAST selection and a second team IWLCA/US Lacrosse All-American. An all-around midfielder who plays a strong game at both ends of the field, Blaney was fourth on the team in goals (44) and points (47) last season. She tied for seventh in ground balls (31), was second in draw controls (46) and fifth with 16 caused turnovers. After just two seasons with the Irish, she is already among the top 10 at Notre Dame in several categories – goals (8th – 87), points (10th – 99) and draw controls (9th -88). Blaney will serve as one of the teams four captains in 2010.
Guerrera rounds out Notre Dame’s three preseason all-BIG EAST choices and is the leader of the Irish defensive unit in 2010. A tough, tenacious defender, she is making her first appearance on the all-BIG EAST preseason team. As a junior she was a second team IWLCA West/Midwest all-region selection and is an All-American candidate in her final year. In 2009, Guerrera was fifth on the team with 33 ground balls and third in caused turnovers in helping the Irish to a 16-5 season, Notre Dame’s first BIG EAST championship and a trip to the NCAA quarterfinals. She will join Scioscia, Blaney and fellow senior Maggie Zentgraf (Charlottesville, Va.) as team captains.
The Irish have been rated ninth in the Lacrosse Magazine preseason poll and eighth by Inside Lacrosse.com. They open the 2010 season on Tuesday, February 23 on the road at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., at 3:30 p.m.
2010 BIG EAST Coaches Preseason Poll
2009 Records 2009 FinishSchool Points BIG EAST Overall Regular SeasonGeorgetown (4) 59 6-1 13-3 1stSyracuse (3) 57 6-1 14-5 2ndNotre Dame (2) 54 5-2 16-5 3rdLoyola (Md.) 43 3-4 11-6 6thLouisville 34 3-4 10-7 4thRutgers 32 3-4 7-9 5thConnecticut 21 2-5 3-13 7thCincinnati 16 0-7 7-10 8thVillanova 8 First year in league
2010 Preseason All-BIG EAST TeamShaylyn Blaney, Notre Dame, Sr., MBrooke Cantwell, Rutgers, Sr., MChristina Dove, Syracuse, Sr., M *Cara Filippelli, Loyola (Md.), Jr., DBergan Foley, Louisville, Jr., AMolly Ford, Georgetown, Sr., A *Grace Gavin, Loyola (Md.), Jr., M *Rachel Guerrera, Notre Dame, Sr., DLiz Hogan, Syracuse, Jr., G *Ashby Kaestner, Georgetown, Sr., MHalley Quillinan, Syracuse, Sr., ALindsay Rogers, Syracuse, Sr., D Gina Scioscia, Notre Dame, Sr., A ** - unanimous selection
Preseason Offensive Player of the YearGina Scioscia, Notre Dame, Sr., A
Preseason Defensive Player of the YearLiz Hogan, Syracuse, Jr., GK