Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/5/11
From Press Releases
Lock Haven and West Chester, which were picked to win their respective divisions of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in each of the last two seasons and have played in the PSAC Tournament championship match in five consecutive seasons, are at the top of the preseason poll again this season as the PSAC returns to a single-division format in women’s lacrosse.
The defending PSAC champion Lady Eagles are the favorite to win the PSAC in 2011 while West Chester, the PSAC and NCAA runner-up last season, is favored to finish second. The duo combined to receive all 12 first place votes in the poll, with Lock Haven getting eight and West Chester the remaining four.
Three of the other four teams that qualified for last year’s PSAC Tournament were picked to finish in third through fifth place. Mercyhurst, which placed second in the PSAC West, was picked third, while Gannon, which finished third in the West and knocked off Mercyhurst in the PSAC Tournament quarterfinals last season, was picked fourth.
Last year’s PSAC East runner-up and PSAC Tournament semifinalist Bloomsburg was tabbed fifth. Shippensburg edged out East Stroudsburg for sixth place. The Warriors were the other PSAC Tournament participant last season as they finished a game ahead of the Lady Raiders in the East standings. IUP, Millersville, Slippery Rock, Edinboro and Kutztown rounded out the poll.
The PSAC, which has nearly doubled in the sport-sponsorship of lacrosse in the last five seasons, will return to a single-division format this season after playing in two divisions for the last two years. This will be the second year that the PSAC will officially have 12 lacrosse-playing members after having only seven teams as recently as the 2006 season.
In the five years since, Slippery Rock, Kutztown and Edinboro have added the sport while Gannon and Mercyhurst joined the PSAC. This year will mark Edinboro’s second year of playing a conference schedule after officially being an independent in its first season in 2009. For the second straight season, the PSAC will conduct a six-team postseason tournament. The No. 6 seed will play the No. 3 seed and the No. 5 seed will take on the No. 4 seed on campus sites at the higher seeds in the quarterfinals while the top seed will host the semifinals and championship match.
Lock Haven, which captured its second straight PSAC title last season, features returnee Kate Smyth (Pennsbury), who has 48 points last year.
West Chester, which has appeared in the PSAC Tournament championship game in each of the last 10 years, will be aiming to win its first PSAC championship since 2008 and return to the NCAA national championship match, which they played in last year after knocking off Lock Haven in the national semifinals just weeks after falling to the Lady Eagles in the PSAC championship match.
The Golden Rams return senior Claire Grimwood (50 goals last year), sophomore Lauren Glassey (Henderson/28 goals), junior Erin Oczkowski (Archbishop Wood/27 goals) and junior Kelly Klever (27 goals). Senior Shannon Hayes, who led the team in assists with 42 and third in points with 61, also returns. The Golden Rams should also be strong on defense behind returning junior goalkeeper Mackenzie O’Keefe (Downingtown East), who saw the majority of time in goal last season.
Listed below is the 2011 preseason PSAC women’s lacrosse coaches’ poll. First place votes are in parenthesis.
PSAC Lacrosse Preseason Poll
1. Lock Haven (8)
2. West Chester (4)
7. East Stroudsburg
10. Slippery Rock
Tags: West Chester