FOREST, Va. --- Familiarity reigns at the top the ODAC Women's Lacrosse preseason poll with the same two teams occupying the top two positions for the fourth straight season. Nine-time defending champion Washington and Lee University sits #1 with a chart-topping 81 points including nine first place votes. Randolph-Macon College ranks second with 71 tallies including the remaining first place nod.
The top-five is rounded out by the same three teams as last season, but in a different order. The University of Lynchburg and Shenandoah University each moved up a rung to third and fourth, respectively, collecting 65 and 56 points. Roanoke College chimes in fifth with 48 markers.
Washington and Lee added to its ODAC-record trophy haul in 2018 by claiming its 19th league crown. Following an 8-0 run thru the league slate, the then nationally ninth-ranked Generals posted an 18-4 win over Shenandoah in the ODAC Tournament semifinals. Randolph-Macon used a 16-10 result over Lynchburg to punch its ticket to a fourth-straight championship match. W&L left R-MC as the runner-up for a fourth consecutive season with a 14-7 triumph at Watt Field in Lexington.
RELATED: ODAC Tournament Bracket
The Generals continued their season in the NCAA Tournament, a stage where they experienced considerable success in 2017 with a run to the national semifinals. W&L opened the 2018 tourney with a resounding 27-7 victory over Cabrini College in the first round at York (Pa.). W&L, slotted 10th in the country at the time of this game, saw its season come to an abrupt end with a 10-3 loss to host and nationally eighth-ranked York.
RELATED: NCAA Tournament Bracket
Entering the 2019 season, Washington and Lee represents the ODAC in two national preseason polls. The Generals rank 13th in the IWLCA top-25 preseason poll and 14th in the Nike/US Lacrosse top-20 preseason poll. Two-time defending national champion Gettysburg College tops the chart in both surveys.
RELATED: IWLCA Preseason Poll | Nike/US Lacrosse Preseason Poll
Member rosters are stocked with returning All-ODAC honorees from 2018 with 24 of the 39 award winners set to return. Washington and Lee leads the list with six all-conference returners, although reigning ODAC Coach of the Year Brooke O'Brien's squad will need to replace the production from ODAC Player of the Year Jess Castelo. Cordelia Peters in attack and Dani Murray in the midfield are back after picking up first team laurels last year. Defender Caitlin Anderson was a second team choice, while Collette Murray and Rebecca Wellford in attack and Abigail Hancock on defense earned third team selections. The Generals are further bolstered by the return of midfielder Hayley Tucker, who was tabbed to the national player of the year "watch list" last year but missed all of 2018 due to injury.
Bridgewater College and Roanoke combine to return nine All-ODAC standouts. The Eagles feature a trio of second teamers in attack Kristen Stark, midfielder Sarah Yashinskie, and goalkeeper Mikaela Brooks. They also welcome back attack Anna O'Hara and defender Mackenzie Parcell, who both garnered third team honors. The Maroons four returners are highlighted by first teamers Maggie Lewis in the midfield and Emma Boris on defense. Boris was the ODAC Defensive Player of the Year, an honor instituted for the first time in 2018. Roanoke also features second team attack Ellie Armstrong and third team midfielder Katie Clements.
Lynchburg boasts three All-ODAC returners led by first team attack Alicia Sandoval. Fellow front-line player Kelsi Trevisan and defender Allie O'Leary earned second team honors.
Randolph-Macon, which must replace the contributions of one of the most productive attacking tandems in league history in Alicia Hsieh and Alex Lightfoot, welcomes back a pair of all-conference athletes. Elicia Wells was the All-ODAC First Team goalkeeper, while midfielder Hannah Jones received second team accolades.
Shenandoah also returns two all-conference players. Midfielder Alyson Bittinger earned second team laurels in addition to ODAC Rookie of the Year honors. Midfielder Cassie Arndt earned second team distinction.
Guilford College and Virginia Wesleyan University feature one returning award winner each. The Quakers enjoy the return of third team midfielder Madison Iandoli, and the Marlins look to third team midfielder Tori Manahan.
Newcomer Ferrum College opens its first ODAC season with one All-USA South player on the roster. Defender Tatianna Roberts was a first team choice a season ago.
RELATED: 2018 All-ODAC Women's Lacrosse Awards
The 2019 campaign begins with non-conference play on Saturday, February 9. The first ODAC contest is slated for Tuesday, March 19. The conference tournament begins with quarterfinal action on Wednesday, May 1. The semifinals and finals will be hosted by the top seed on Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5.
Listed below is the complete 2019 ODAC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll. For more information on ODAC women's lacrosse, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.
|2019 ODAC WOMEN'S LACROSSE PRESEASON POLL|
|(#) Denotes First Place Votes|
|1. Washington and Lee University (9)||81 pts.|
|2. Randolph-Macon College (1)||71 pts.|
|3. University of Lynchburg||65 pts.|
|4. Shenandoah University||56 pts.|
|5. Roanoke College||48 pts.|
|6. Bridgewater College||42 pts.|
|7. Virginia Wesleyan University||35 pts.|
|8. Guilford College||26 pts.|
|9. Ferrum College||16 pts.|
|10. Randolph College||10 pts.|