After a breakthrough season a year ago that saw it qualify for the league tournament for the first time in six years while setting a school record for victories, the Merrimack College women’s lacrosse program garnered plenty of preseason respect from the rest of its Northeast-10 Conference colleagues, as the Warriors were slotted to finish third in the 2019 NE10 Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
The Warriors, who set a program record with 14 wins last year on the way to an appearance in the league tournament’s semifinal round, will bring back nearly every key component from last year’s squad and will look to qualify for the NCAA Championship for the first time in school history in the program’s final year competing in the NE10 before reclassifying to Division I and the Northeast Conference (NEC).
Merrimack was predicted to finish behind only last year’s national champion in Le Moyne College (167 points, 11 first-place votes) and perennial contender Adelphi University (159 points, 3 FPV) in the 14-team preseason prognostications. If those predictions hold true, it would be the team’s best regular season finish since placing third in 2010.
Merrimack, with 133 points in the voting results, narrowly edged New Haven, which took fourth with 131 points. The Warriors defeated the Chargers twice last year, including the opening round of last year’s NE10 Championship. Pace, one of only four schools to defeat Merrimack last year, rounded-out the top five with 126 points.
The 2019 campaign begins next Tuesday (Feb. 19) when the Warriors play host to Mercy College in a matchup of two of the region’s top programs. The NE10 Women’s Lacrosse Championship is slated to begin on May 1 with the quarterfinal round, followed by the semifinals on May 4 and the championship game on May 5.
2019 NE10 Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Poll
1. Le Moyne – 167 (11)
2. Adelphi – 159 (3)
3. Merrimack – 133
4. New Haven – 131
5. Pace – 126
6. Assumption – 103
7. Bentley – 102
8. Stonehill – 89
9. Saint Anselm – 83
10. So. New Hampshire – 57
11. Franklin Pierce – 45
12. So. Connecticut – 29
13. Saint Michael’s – 28
14. American International – 22