Gainesville, FL - After capturing its first postseason victory and
entering the NCAA record books as the sixth team in women’s Division I
history to have 10 or more wins in its inaugural season, the University
of Florida was ranked 17th in Lacrosse Magazine’s Preseason Poll
released on Monday. It is the first preseason ranking for the Gators.
Florida’s only ranking of its inaugural season came on April 5, 2010
after defeating then-No. 14 Penn State to claim the 20th spot in the
Defending national champion Maryland headlines the publication's top
five, followed by Northwestern, North Carolina, Duke and Syracuse.
Second-year head coach Amanda O’Leary and the Gators will begin the
2011 season on Feb. 12 at Fetzer Field on the campus of the University
of North Carolina, when UF visits for the season opener.
Florida was 10-8 overall last season and claimed its first ALC victory
against the Nittany Lions of Penn State, while also reaching the
semifinals of the ALC Tournament by knocking out the No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins, 14-3. With that victory, UF became just the sixth team in NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse history to have 10 or more wins in their first season, joining Navy (13-4 in 2008), Louisville (12-4 in 2008),
North Carolina (12-4 in 1996), Holy Cross (10-0 in 1980) and New
Hampshire (10-0-1 in 1977). Florida now ranks fourth all-time, along
with Holy Cross and New Hampshire, in inaugural season victories.
The Gators return 24 letterwinners, including 11 starters and 19 Gators
from the inaugural signing class that was ranked No. 1 from Inside
Lacrosse magazine. Sophomore attacker Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) returns after being named the Rookie of the Year by the American
Lacrosse Conference, WomensLacrosse.com and WomensLax.com. She was named both WomensLacrosse.com and WomensLax.com Rookie of the Week twice, while being named the ALC Rookie of the Week three times. She led all freshmen in the nation in points and ranked second among freshmen in assists and third in goals. All-ALC standouts Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) and Jamie Reeg (Atlantis, Fla.) (both Second Team All-ALC) return for the Gators, as well as ALC All-Tournament Team honoree Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) (Reeg was also named to the Tournament Team). Florida returns a solid nucleus of experience at all positions, gearing up for a strong second season.
The Gators join three other American Lacrosse Conference teams in the
top 20, as perennial power Northwestern was named No. 2, Vanderbilt was named No. 11 and Penn State comes in at No. 15. There are three other 2011 Gator opponents ranked in the Lacrosse Magazine poll, as the Tarheels are ranked at No. 3, Syracuse comes in at No. 5 and Georgetown rounds out the non-conference slate at No. 6.
3 North Carolina
9 James Madison
10 Notre Dame
15 Penn State
19 Boston College
Preseason Player of the Year: Karri Ellen Johnson, Maryland