GVSU Lakers Favored in 2018 GLIAC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll

GVSU Lakers Favored in 2018 GLIAC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll

GLIAC -- The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) women's lacrosse coaches selected Grand Valley State University to win the league title in the 2018 GLIAC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll. The Lakers are the four-time defending GLIAC regular season after splitting the regular season crown with McKendree last year who earned the GLIAC Tournament title in 2017.

The league's head coaches participated in the balloting, but were not allowed to vote for their own team.

GVSU finished atop of the 2018 GLIAC Preseason poll after receiving 36 points and all six eligible first place-votes. McKendree arrived in second with 30 points and one first-place vote.

The Indianapolis Greyhounds (26) topped Tiffin (22) for the No. 3 position, while Concordia-St. Paul accumulated 15 points as the Golden Bears begin their second season in program history. Davenport enters the season rated No. 6 in the league while Northern Michigan is slated No. 7 also entering its second year of competition.

The 2018 GLIAC women's lacrosse schedule will feature a single round-robin format with each of the eight teams playing seven conference games beginning on March 10th.  The GLIAC women's lacrosse tournament will include the top four teams in the final regular season standings with the top seed hosting the league tournament. The Tournament semifinals and championship matches will be held at the site of the No. 1 seed on Friday, May 4th and Sunday, May 6th.

2018 GLIAC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll
Rank Institution Votes (First)
1. Grand Valley State 36 (6)
2. McKendree 30 (1)
3. Indianapolis 26
4. Tiffin 22
5. Concordia-St. Paul 15
6. Davenport 11
7. Northern Michigan 7

-- The following are previews of all seven GLIAC Lacrosse teams for the 2018 season --


Grand Valley State Lakers
Head Coach:  Alicia Groveston - 7th Season
2018 Preseason Pick: 1st


The Lakers have a veteran squad entering the 2018 campaign, with 13 seniors on the roster. Erika Neumen, a 2016 All-American, returns to the GVSU midfield after missing the entire 2017 season due to injury. She scored 69 goals with five assists in 2016 after a 75-goal, 16-assist season in 2015. The Lakers three top scorers from a season ago also return in 2018, led by Meghan Datema off her team-high 44 goal season a year ago. Fellow senior Meggan Loyd broke out for 27 goals and nine assists in her junior campaign while Abbi O'Neal posted 34 goals in her freshman season. 

There will be a new starter in net for the Lakers after graduating Sara Zwilsky. Brianna DeMilla made 12 appearances a year ago, including a pair of starts, so she looks to be the front runner in the goalie competition. The other potential goalies include junior Madison Barnes, who made one appearance in 2017, and Abigail Dengler, who redshirted last season.


McKendree Bearcats
Head Coach: Melissa Gyllenborg - 4th Season
2018 Preseason Pick: 2nd


The McKendree University women's lacrosse team looks to build on their share of the 2017 GLIAC Regular Season title along with the 2017 GLIAC Tournament crown as they head into the 2018 campaign ranked in the top 20 of the NCAA DII Rankings. McKendree looks to a young team this season as the Bearcats graduated GLIAC Goaltender of the Year, Amy Porta and GLIAC Midfielder of the Year, Victoria Lelo.

Melissa Gyllenborg returns for her fourth season after receiving the GLIAC Coach of the Year award last season. The Bearcats return 1st team All-GLIAC attacker Dana DiPasquale, 2nd team attacker Paige Salthouse, and Honorable Mention midfielder Hannah Sugarman who will look to lead the team to another conference title. The Bearcats open the 2018 slate on the road as the team travels to Oklahoma Baptist University on March 3rd for a Noon contest.

Indianapolis Greyhounds
Interim Head Coach: James Delaney - 2nd Season
2018 Preseason Pick: 3rd


The UIndy women's lacrosse team enters the 2018 season with a lot of optimism. The Greyhounds will begin the spring with its first-ever national ranking after earning the No. 24 spot in the IWLCA Division II Preseason Coaches Poll. UIndy also has a new voice at the helm, as Interim Head Coach James Delaney takes over the reins for the third-year program

In just its second year of existence, the Greyhounds went 13-5 (.722) in 2017, capped by an appearance in the GLIAC Tournament semifinals. Delaney returns nine starters this year, including all-conference performers Riley McClure (first team), Laura McKee (second team), Anna Rulapaugh (second team) and Grace Gunneson (honorable mention).
UIndy also received votes in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division II Women's Preseason Top 20 poll. The Hounds open the 2018 season at home versus No. 3 Lindenwood Feb. 10.

Tiffin Dragons
Head Coach: Erica Brown - 6th Season
2018 Preseason Pick: 4th


The Tiffin University women's lacrosse team didn't like the way last season ended, falling in the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals. The Dragons are hoping their last season in the GLIAC will be a memorable one, featuring a roster that returns 17 players from last season, including five seniors, four juniors, and eight sophomores. Head Coach Erica Brown enters her fifth season with Tiffin, posting a 54-40 record with Tiffin, making the GLIAC Tournament in all five previous seasons.

On the attack, the trio of Elle MacMillan, Amanda Flotteron, and Elle Hamilton will be the offensive catalysts for Tiffin. MacMillan played and started in all 18 games for Tiffin, scoring 36 goals and totaling 39 points. Flotteron also played and started in all 18 games, scoring 36 goals and collecting 10 assists. GLIAC Freshman of the Year, Elle Hamilton, returns after her 34 goal 9 assist season a year ago.

Defensively the Dragons allowed the opposition only 8.96 goals per game last season, leaning heavily on the goalkeeping skills of Kat Schneeberger. The All-GLIAC athlete recorded 111 saves last season, facing 358 shots in 18 games. Tiffany Anderson will look to lead the Dragons defense from outside the crease, seeing action in 42 career games and causing 35 turnovers. Amie Morrison will be alongside Anderson on defense. Morrison played and started in 17 games last year, snagging 19 ground balls, 7 draw controls, and caused 11 turnovers.

Tiffin's season begins with the toughest start in program history, taking on three top-25 opponents in a row starting with Lindenwood on February 25.


Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears
Head Coach: Mo Dunnigan - 2nd Season
2018 Preseason Pick: 5th


Concordia-St. Paul enters its second year as a program and holds the distinction as the only NCAA Division II women's lacrosse program in the Upper Midwest five-state area (MN, ND, SD, IA, WI). The team competed as an NCAA Division II independent in 2017 and joins the GLIAC as an affiliate member for 2018. Second year head coach Mo Dunnigan looks to build upon a successful inaugural campaign during which the Golden Bears went 8-8 despite featuring a roster that was comprised of nearly all freshmen, with just one sophomore and one junior on the roster. Armed with a fresh crop of seven new freshmen recruits, Dunnigan and the young Golden Bears will face a new challenge in year two of incorporating additional athletes to the roster.

Three Golden Bears topped 30 goals: sophomores Kailey Heinl (43), Maddie Hentges (38) and Alina Boyce (32) with Hentges leading the club with 53 total points. The team's top distributor is also its lone senior, Kallie LaValle who transferred from GLIAC member Grand Valley State. LaValle worked teammates free for 17 assists and was fourth on the team with 32 points and led the team with 49 draw controls. In the net, sophomore Katie Lottsfeldt played all but 20 minutes on the season and ranked 35thamong 175 Division II goalies with 8.31 saves per game and was fifth in the country among all players with 4.19 ground balls per game.

The inaugural season saw the Bears pickoff multiple Division II wins, including a road win at Rockhurst and a home/home sweep of Northern Michigan. The challenging schedule also provided a solid introduction into life in the GLIAC as CSP played four teams from the conference as well as multiple nationally ranked IWLCA Top-20 DII programs.

Davenport Panthers
Head Coach: Rob Harris - 5th Season
2018 Preseason Pick: 6th


Davenport heads into the 2018 season with one goal in mind compete hard and create an opportunity to win every game they play. The Panthers are coming off another solid season on the field, going 15-3 overall, 13-1 in WHAC play, shared the WHAC regular season championship and advanced to the semifinals of the NAIA Invitational.

The Panthers return senior defender/midfielder Maeve Sweeney, and sophomore Ryann Deuel. Both of these athletes had a major impact on the field for Davenport. Sweeney led the team during the 2017 season in ground balls (43), and caused turnovers (38). She also participated and started in all 18 games last season. Deuel made a major impact as well on the defensive side of the ball. As a freshman, Deuel tallied 39 ground balls, 25 caused turnovers, and a school record 157 draw controls.

Davenport will need to look at a number of different players to make up for the offense that they lost from 2017. Three senior attackers graduated last season, Brooke Knoll, Jessica Lemcke, and Tara Pluger. Those three players accounted for 217 goals and 98 assists. Taylor Ries will be the only returning Panther who scored 20 or more goals during the 2017 season. Ries scored 80 goals and had 21 assists.

Head Coach Rob Harris has had an abundance of success over his four-year career at Davenport. Harris has an overall record of 64-14 and either tied or won the conference outright all four years. On top of the conference success, Harris led his team to NWLL and NAIA Championships during the 2016 season.

The Panthers have 14 underclassmen on their team and will look to their senior class to help them grow throughout the 2018 season.


Northern Michigan Wildcats
Head Coach: Emilia Ward - 2nd Season
2018 Preseason Pick: 7th


The Northern Michigan University Lacrosse team begins their second season of play this year and look to infuse a talented incoming class with the experience they gained in their Inaugural season.  

Returning for the Wildcats are the team's top scorers. Junior  Shelby Klotz (Framington, Minn.) returns after leading the team with 29 goals.  Sophomore Graison Ringlever (Matawan, Mich.) added 24 goals during her rookie season.  Senior Blair Osgood (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Andover) finished the year with a team-best six assists while adding 16 goals.  

Defensively, Brianna Bangle (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) comes back to protect the net after leading the nation in saves per game last season.  She also led the team with 32 ground balls. The team will look for their seven new midfielders and attackers to aid the offensive attack while an additional goalie and defender add depth to the backline