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So, it has been a cold, gloomy winter and sports fans want something to get all warm a fuzzy about. Never fear lacrosse is here—women’s in particular. The area has three teams ranked in the pre-season top 20.

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Maryland enters 2014 ranked No. 2 in national polls. While the Terps lost several greats, the team has three pre-season All-Americans and a talented supporting crew waiting to set its own mark.

Brooke Griffin (49 goals, 24 assists) [South River] is expected to lead the Terrapin attack. Assisting her will be Kristen Lamon (25) [St. Mary’s Annapolis] and Halle Majorana (23).

Maryland’s midfield is lining up yet again to be one of the nation’s best. Starters Taylor Cummings (43, 28 ground balls, 94 draw controls) [McDonogh Baltimore], Kelly McPartland (25, 20 a, 31 ground balls) and Beth Glaros (29, 37 draw controls) return to the field in 2014 after combining for 95 goals and 146 draw controls last season. Cummings was tabbed to Inside Lacrosse’s Preseason National Player of the Year Watch List.
Howard Smith

Another strong position for the Terps will be at the defensive end of the field where Maryland returns three starters including Shanna Brady and Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-Americans Megan Douty (29 gb) and Alice Mercer (24 gb) [Century].

Georgetown

Georgetown women’s lacrosse presents a paradox this season. On one hand it offers the promise of brilliant offense with veteran scorers making plays. On the other, the Blue & Gray could be lost on defense with inexperienced midfielders lost on the transition and questionable goal keeping. Experts expect the former.

GU has three Top 10 rankings for the 2014 season. The Hoyas were selected No. 10 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association's Preseason Poll, No. 9 in the Brine Women's Media Poll and No. 9 by Lacrosse Magazine.

The Hoyas lost nine players from last year’s squad invited to the NCAAs. GU compiled a 13-6 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the Big East. Georgetown returns four of its top five scorers along with three of four starting defenders in 2014.

Leading the way is Caroline Tarzian (36, 14a) a 2013 third team All-American. Corinne Etchison (17) [McDonogh School], Adrianna Devine (28 gb) will anchor the defense along with Casey McGowan (23 gb) and M.J. Coyle (21 gb) [Holy Child].

When the Patriot League Preseason Poll was released, conference newcomer Loyola (Md.) was predicted to finish first, garnering 127 points and 15 first place votes, and was followed by Navy (113, 3), Boston U. (94), Holy Cross (76), American (72), Lafayette (61), Colgate (47), Lehigh (38) and Bucknell (20).

Navy

The Middies must rebuild its 19-2 Patriot League champion team from a year ago. Armed with a pair of topnotch players most experts think Navy is up to the task as the team is in most Top 20s.

Mids stopper Annie Foky was nearly perfect last year allowing just 7.13 goals per game. She is one of the best in the nation and was honored at the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. She has to be on her game for Navy to succeed.

The Mids lost one of the top scorers in the nation due to graduation. Aimee Gennaro (64, 16a, 33gb), Loren Generi (62, 13a, 111dc) will try to replace her, according to Lax.com. Jill Coughlin (21, 31gb) [St. Mary’s Annapolis] is also being called on to lead this season.

American

The Eagles hopes appear to evolve round Emily Maher. She was was named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.

A two-time All-Patriot League selection and 2013 First Team honoree, Maher led the Eagles to one of its best conference records in program history (8-10, 5-1). The senior ranked third on the team with 39 points on 29 goals and 10 assists. She also finished with a team-best 59 draw controls, one shy of the program record she set in 2012. Maher also collected a team-high 29 ground balls and 12 caused 12 turnovers.

AU returns three of its top four goal scorers from a season ago. Alex Lugovina is the Eagles’ top returning attacker after posting a career-high 39 goals while Jordan Harrington added 20 goals with 15 assists. Lauren Binstein and Olivia Reeve will lead the American defensive unit this season.

George Washington returns 19 players from its 9-8- squad last year including four conference selections–Jamie Bumgardner, Jenn Seitz, Olivia Boudreau and Julia Lawson.

The Colonials should be able to score with six of its top seven scorers from a year ago in Bumgardner (18 goals, 29 ground balls ), Rachel Mia (31, 25 gb) [Severna Park], Jordy Bathras (19g, 32gb) [Severn School], Allie Rash (12 g, 11 assists), Boudreau (15) and Lindsey DiAntonio (15, 32gb ) [Marriotts Ridge].

Seitz (38 gb, 43 draw controls) [Good Counsel] and Lawson will be asked to hold down the fort on defense.

Howard

Coming off a 1-16 season, the Bison have a couple of building blocks.Cynthia Smalls (50 g, 5 a) and Jaymie Cox (29 g, 2 a) aret the squad’s returning leading scorers.

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