Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

Defending Champion Richmond Tabbed to Claim A-10 Lacrosse Championship Title

By Atlantic 10 Conference

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Richmond, the 2018 defending A-10 champion, has been picked to repeat in the 2019 Women’s Lacrosse Preseason Poll, the league announced Wednesday.

Richmond received five first-place votes to claim the top spot with 95 points while Massachusetts also received five first-place votes and 94 points overall to finish second. Saint Joseph’s earned 73 points to claim the third spot in the rankings.  

Davidson finished fourth in the voting with 63 points, followed by George Mason (62), VCU (55) and George Washington (34). La Salle, Duquesne and St. Bonaventure rounded out the votes with 31, 28 and 15 points respectively.

Richmond tied the best record in program history (16-4) in 2018 and set a program record for goals (288). The second-seeded Spiders claimed the 2018 Atlantic 10 Women's Lacrosse crown with a thrilling 12-11 overtime victory over the top-seeded Minutewomen, snapping a nine-year championship streak. With the win, Richmond earned the A-10's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, its first since 2007, where they combined with Northwestern for most goals in an NCAA Tournament game in the first round (42).

The Spiders lost six seniors from last year, all starters, but add eight newcomers in 2019. Leading the Spiders are Julie Ball, the 2018 A-10 Defensive Player of the Year, Megan Gianforte, 2017 and 2018 First Team All-Conference Goalkeeper, Katie Sciandra, who holds the program single-season goals record (67), and Sam Geiersbach, who sat out the 2018 season due to injury after being named 2017 A-10 Rookie of the Year.  

Massachusetts returns five of its top seven scorers from the 2018 campaign, headlined by 2018 A-10 Midfielder of the Year Stephanie Croke. However, the Minutewomen will look to replace a combined 171 points from graduated seniors Holly Turner and Hannah Burnett. Starting goalie Lauren Hiller returns to anchor a revamped defensive unit. Entering her junior year, Hiller sports a 30-9 overall record. UMass has the second-most wins nationally over the last eight years with 142 during head coach Angela McMahon’s tenure and is seeking its league-record 11th Atlantic 10 Championship title this spring.

Saint Joseph’s returns 2018 Atlantic 10 First Team attacker, Rebecca Lane, who has recorded 185 points on 107 goals and 78 assists through just 51 collegiate games. The senior attacker will once again be expected to lead the Hawks on the offensive end of the field. On the other end, senior defender Ally Beck returns to anchor the Hawks' back line. After losing backline mates Kristen Kelbon, Juliana Strazulo, and Catie Vivian due to graduation, Beck will lead the SJU defense this spring.

The regular season kicks off the weekend of February 9-10, with five of the 10 A-10 teams in action. The 2019 Atlantic 10 Women's Lacrosse Championship will be held April 25-28 at George Mason Stadium.  The Championship will feature a bracket of six teams. View the full 2019 schedule, or visit Championship Central for more information.

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