Top 10 Preview
No. 1 Tufts, No. 3 Middlebury, No. 4 Bowdoin begin seasons
No. 1 Tufts
After having last weekend off, the defending national champions get their season started on Saturday with a trip to Bates. The Jumbos open the season as the favorites with first-team All-American Emily Cannon, 2012 leading scorer Chelsea Yogerst and starting goalie Bri Keenan lead the returning group of Jumbos in 2013.
Tufts head coach Tina McDavitt is preaching to her team to get “back to basics” and will test that mantra against Bates, a team that went 4-10 in 2012.
No. 2 Montclair State
The Red Hawks, the only team in the top four to open its season last weekend, host Alvernia on Saturday afternoon. Montclair has won its first three games this season and Jennifer Tafro leads the team with three goals so far. Rebecca Brattole has only allowed one goal so far this season and made nine saves in the three wins.
Alvernia has split its first two games this year, defeating King’s (Pa.) and losing to Franklin & Marshall.
No. 3 Middlebury
After being upset in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament last year, Middlebury opens its season Saturday against Amherst. The Panthers do have Catherine Fowler (13 goals, 17 assists for 43 points), Katherine Theiss (17 goals, five assists for 39 points) and Anna Kenyon (13 goals and three assists for 29 points) all returning as they try to duplicate some of last year’s success when it was ranked No. 1 entering the NCAA tournament.
Amherst also starts its season Saturday after going 11-5 last season.
No. 4 Bowdoin
The Polar Bears reached the NCAA quarterfinals last season, and will play a pair of games this weekend to kick off their season. On Saturday, Bowdoin hosts Wesleyan (Conn.) before traveling for a Sunday game at Wellesley. A retooled defense will get a boost from the return of 2012 leading goal-scorers Katie Riley (16 goals, 15 assists for 47 points) and Rachel Kennedy (15 goals, two assits for 32 points).
Wesleyan (Conn.) also starts its season Saturday after going 7-8 in 2012. Wellesley has cruised to a pair of eight-goal victories in its first two games of the season.
No. 5 Salisbury
The Seagulls look for their third win in as many games as they host Wilkes Saturday afternoon. In the first two games, they have scored five goals in a win against SUNY Geneseo and seven in a win against Union (N.Y.) last weekend. In those two games, starter Rachel Clewer and Kate Russo have yet to allow a goal.
Wilkes has dropped its first two games, giving up six goals to Union (N.Y.) and seven to SUNY Geneseo.
No. 6 Mary Washington
Mary Washington has easily won its first three games of the year, and goes for its fourth win in a neutral-site matchup against DePauw on Saturday. In those three games, the Eagles have scored 26 goals and Jenna Steele leads the team with five goals. In goal, Emily Badis has started all three games and given up just one goal on six shots on goal.
DePauw, which reached the national semifinals last season, has gone 1-1 to start the season with its win coming in overtime against Lynchburg.
No. 7 Franklin & Marshall
The Diplomats have won each of its first two games this season, and will host Eastern on Saturday in an opportunity to get some revenge. In the first round of the NCAA tournament last year, Eastern had a 2-1 overtime victory to knock out Franklin & Marshall. Four different Diplomats have scored one goal each and Avery Koep has given up one goal in those two games.
Eastern picked up its first win of the season on Wednesday, defeating Elizabethtown 7-4. In the first game of the year, the Eagles were blanked by Montclair State.
No. 8 Messiah
Messiah took down Stevens Institute last weekend and will look for its second win of the season when it travels to Rowan on Saturday. That game was won on an overtime goal by Brooke Sands and Molly Gebrosky made seven saves.
Rowan has won its first two games of the season, each by one goal. The latest came Wednesday, when a goal from Jenna Pressley downed Cabrini.
No. 9 Christopher Newport
Looking to continue the squad's early season roll, ninth-ranked Christopher Newport will face a pair of tough tests this weekend as the Captains head to No. 13 Lynchburg on Friday before kicking off their home slate against No. 11 DePauw on Sunday.
Yielding just three goals in their first two games, the Captains have opened with a 2-0 record. The squad out-scored its opposition 13-3 last weekend with two victories against Hendrix and Rhodes.
Lynchburg and DePauw both boast 1-1 records.
No. 10 William Smith
The Herons cruised to an 8-1 victory in the season opener last week and will now look to defeat Ursinus on Saturday. Melanie O’Connor leads the team with two goals while six others have scored for the Herons. Amy Feda started the game for William Smith before giving way to Biz Chirco at the start of the second half.
Ursinus began its season with a 9-0 victory against Eastern Mennonite last weekend.