#LMranks: No. 6 Loyola Greyhounds (Women)
|"Sydney Thomas can be one of the
most dynamic players on the field," Loyola coach Jen Adams
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com
Lacrosse Magazine is counting down its preseason rankings throughout the month of January exclusively on LaxMagazine.com.
Today continues a look at our NCAA Division I Top 20 rankings. For more, visit LaxMagazine.com/LMranks. Follow @LacrosseMag on Twitter and Tweet using the hashtag #LMranks. The countdown will resume Monday with profiles of the fifth-ranked teams in NCAA Division I men and women.
Draw Control: 3
* Out of 5
M Marlee Paton (Jr.)
The Aussie standout will be the focal point of the offense from the midfield after producing a team-best 90 points (54 goals and 36 assists) last season.
A Annie Thomas (So.)
The freshman phenom made an immediate impact in 2012, totaling 69 points and a gaudy .576 shooting percentage before suffering a knee injury that kept her out of fall ball. The offense could use more of the same from a healthy Thomas to take pressure off Paton.
The Greyhounds' most experienced goalie, sophomore Natalie Angelo, played only 74 minutes last year. Heralded rookie recruit Molly Wolf out of nearby Bryn Mawr (Md.) School has inside track for starting spot.
Loyola opens season against Virginia for the fourth time in five years.
#LMranks WD1 Preseason Countdown
No. 20 Princeton
Record: 14-6 (7-1, Big East)
In a Nutshell: A mix of veterans and newcomers on offense powered the Greyhounds to their second straight Big East conference championship. Loyola knocked off No. 2 Syracuse, 13-7, in the title game at the Carrier Dome. It was Loyola's 13th win of the season and one of seven against top 20 opponents. Loyola slipped past Penn in overtime in the first round of the NCAA tournament before coach Jen Adams' bunch were bounced by her alma mater Maryland, 17-11, in a quarterfinal game in College Park.
High point: The Big East championship game win over Syracuse. The win snapped the Orange's 15-game win streak and gave the Greyhounds an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Low point: A 17-10 loss to Cornell on April 14. It was a strange blemish for the Greyhounds, who had won four straight heading into the contest, including wins over Notre Dame and Georgetown. But the loss to the 15th-ranked Big Red didn't set Loyola back too much. They won six of their next seven, with the only loss coming to Syracuse in the regular season. They, of course, avenged that loss in the Big East tournament two weeks later.
Best Case: Annie Thomas returns strong from a knee injury and some of the championship magic from Charley Toomey's Loyola men's team heads over to the women's squad. A potent offense continues to produce, while the defense holds strong in front of a freshman projected to start in goal. Loyola wins its third straight Big East title and is once again an NCAA tournament contender.
Worst Case: Loyola can't replicate its recipe from 2012 and some inexperience — the team could start as many as three freshman — holds them back. Syracuse is too strong in the Big East and if a few non-conference games go the wrong way, Loyola is a bubble team come Selection Sunday.
Coach Jen Adams' comments on...
A Annie Thomas (So.)
"There is no doubt that Annie will return to the field and be a major contributor to our offense. Annie can score and feed and is tough to stop from the left side of the crease. If she becomes more multi-dimensional and able to attack from a variety of positions around the fan, Annie will be even more successful than she was last year."
M Marlee Paton (Jr.)
"Marlee is a true midfielder who can impact a game at both ends. She has an innate ability to read the opposition and play. Marlee will get a lot of heat from opposition and double teams this year, and her ability to handle the pressure and still lead and control the tempo of the game will be her real test."
M Sydney Thomas (So.)
"Sydney Thomas can be one of the most dynamic players on the field. If she backs herself to take more risks, she will be one of our most valuable assets this year. Syd needs to get more shots off and help run the show on offense. We will need to get the ball in her stick more often and help build her confidence as a key player that creates the offense."
Rival Coaches Say
"They return most of their firepower. A team that I think, while young, is very poised and has a number of different threats. It'll be interesting to see with the departure of so many important defenders, what their new defense looks like. I think they're once again, a tough as nails team... I like that their goalie is gone. She changed the way we had to play against them...Jen Adams has these kids believing after they won the Big East... Adams waited a long time for the right job to come along, and she found it at Loyola. Did Charley Toomey share his blueprint for a championship?"