Feb. 4, 2009

EVANSTON, Ill. -- The Northwestern Wildcats, the four-time reigning national champions, begin the 2009 season on top of the IWLCA/Under Armour weekly polls, as announced by the organization. The Wildcats, who already sit at 1-0 on the season following a 24-6 victory over Denver on Jan. 23, garnered 19 of 20 first-place votes to rank first, followed by the Syracuse Orange, the 'Cats semifinal opponent in the 2008 NCAA Championships. The Orange earned the other first-place vote and begin the 2009 season with their highest ranking in school history. The Duke Blue Devils, who also advanced to the NCAA semifinals in 2008, begin the 2009 season ranked third.

The American Lacrosse Conference and the Big East both claim three schools in the preseason poll. After top-ranked Northwestern, the ALC also boasts No. 12 Vanderbilt and No. 15 Johns Hopkins, with Ohio State and Penn State also receiving votes. No. 2 Syracuse leads the way in the Big East, which is also represented by No. 8 Georgetown and No. 11 Notre Dame, all of which are on the Wildcat schedule. NU also faces the third-ranked Blue Devils, No. 4 Virginia, No. 5 Penn, and No. 9 North Carolina.

Northwestern returns to the field Tuesday, Feb. 17, facing Duquesne in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Wildcats then head to South Bend, Ind., for a showdown with the 11th-ranked Irish on Friday, Feb. 20.

IWLCA/Under Armour 2009 Preseason Poll

1. Northwestern (19)
2. Syracuse (1)
3. Duke
4. Virginia
5. Penn

6. Maryland
7. Princeton
8. Georgetown
9. North Carolina

10. Boston University
11. Notre Dame
12. Vanderbilt

13. Dartmouth
14. New Hampshire
15. Johns Hopkins
16t. James Madison
16t. Cornell
18. Stanford
19t. Denver
19t. Towson

Also receiving votes: Boston College, George Mason, Loyola, Ohio State, Penn State, Richmond, William & Mary, Yale.

Teams in italics represent 2009 opponents