The next installment of the preseason top 25 is now available!
October 30, 2014 by Keith Raynor in Rankings with 13 comments
We are excited to present the second installment of this year’s preseason College Power Rankings in the Women’s Division! These rankings are based holistically on a number of factors: last year’s performance, roster changes, conversations with coaches, the “eye test”, and assorted other factors.
#25 – #16 were posted yesterday. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next installment: #5 – #1.
15. UCLA BLU (2014: T-9th at Nationals, 3rd in Southwest)
UCLA is in a strange position, after sending a pretty talented team through the year and eventually to Nationals out of a tough Southwest. Their losses are fairly heavy: Michelle Chang, Alexa Cohen, Katie Swinnerton, Kelcie Ralph. But they bring back a healthy Margot Stert and Kristen Pojunis (7 Figures). The development of impressive sophomore Han Chen will be critical behind the disc.
14. Northeastern Valkyries (2014: T-17th at Nationals, 2nd in New England)
Mei Bruist (The Ghosts) is back to lead the Valkyries, and is one of the best offensive threats you haven’t heard of. Typically a defensively focused team, the losses of Kate Flood and Lizzie Jones might mean the team looks to use the offensive skills of Bruist, Hannah Walter (The Ghosts), Melissa Ellis, and Nicole Canning more. Coach Jason Adams will have some adjustments to make to win the region again.
13. Dartmouth Princess Layout (2014: 3rd in New England)
The hype on Dartmouth’s talent is very real. Eva Petzinger (Wild Card) is capable of vicious grabs and consistent throws to lead the way, and Angela Zhu’s development has been accelerated by a year with Brute Squad. With U19 star(s) Juliana Werffeli (and probably Piper Curtis) joining the team, if Dartmouth’s depth is there, they could do more than just make it to Nationals for the first time in years.
12. Tufts Ewo (2014: T-9th at Nationals, New England Champion)
If you haven’t noticed, the battle up north should be very intense (Harvard was the first team out of the top 25, too). Ewo’s program excellence helps get them the nod, along with the return of Qxhna Titcomb, who looked exceptional during her elite club debut with Brute Squad and will be mentioned in the Callahan discussion. Jojo Emerson and Laura Fradin form a lethal backfield combination.
11. Ohio State Fever (2014: National Champion, Ohio Valley Champion)
Make no mistake: Fever lost a lot. Gone are Ultiworld’s top two in 2014 Player of the Year selection (Paige Soper and Cassie Swafford), along with a healthy dose of talented veterans; even incredible U19 rookie Sadie Jezierski tore her ACL this fall. Stephanie Miller (Santa Maria), one of last season’s breakouts, will be difficult to defend wherever she lines up, while Katie Backus, Jenna Galletta, and freshman Alora Reiff give the team dependable production. Fever’s depth and system, led by 2014 Co-Coach of the Year DeAnna Ball, will hold it together.
10. Western Washington Chaos (2014: T-17th at Nationals, 5th in Northwest)
Not many teams can lose the player their team is built around and get better. But the young talent that populates the Chaos roster can grow enough to compensate the loss of Callie Mah. 2014 Breakout Player of the Year Abbie Abramovich will be the team’s leader and heartbeat, but Jessie Thoreson and Tiffany Phan (another defensive stalwart) will be huge. Adding U19 team’s Maddie Gilbert and quality freshman TQ Wen only adds to WWU’s talent, making them a deeper and more consistent performer than last season.
9. UC Santa Barbara Burning Skirts (2014: T-9th at Nationals, Southwest Champion)
Well, you know Lisa P’s back. And if she brings the maturity her game picked up with Fury this year, she’ll be distinctly more dangerous. Talia Barth and Joy Kang will join Pitcaithley (Fury) as the star triumvirate and will register massive touch counts. Losing Kelly Gross was harder, Noelle Neason even harder, but it may be a chance for the Skirts to right the ship. If some of their other players, like Audrey de los Reyes or Rachel Johnston, can step up, it could mean the difference between another prequarters exit and greater things.
8. Washington Element (2014: T-3rd at Nationals, 2nd in Northwest)
A class of legendary caliber left Washington, but they managed to pick up some huge contributors from smaller programs ready to make names for themselves. Lauren Sadler (Scandal, American University) and Emma Kahle (Columbia) bring strong resumes as a Club Champion and regional Player of the Year, respectively. Along with Sarah Edwards (star quality talent), Cami Canter, and Grace Noah, they’ll lead a new-look Element in a season that’s difficult to predict. How coach Kyle Weisbrod manages their development will be critical, but the program’s consistency and impressive Nationals run last year give reasons to believe.
7. Carleton Syzygy (2014: T-5th at Nationals, North Central Champion)
The program that is Syzygy has shown quite a bit of resilience. Their pipeline of young talent stabilizes their performance. Julia Snyder is gone, but Kirstie Barton (Pop) is ready to fill her role as a player who can take over a game with her throws. Emily Buckner will be one of the division’s premier downfield threats, and they’re deep behind that, with vets like Ahna Weeks (Pop), Leah Cromer, Lucia Childs-Walker (Pop), and Zoe Borden. Watch out for sophomore Katie Ciaglo’s dynamic backfield presence.
6. Colorado Kali (2014: T-13th at Nationals, 3rd in South Central)
We may have jumped the gun ranking Kali 7th last year (they didn’t finish that far behind that ranking), but this year’s squad looks similarly talented and learned hard lessons in 2014. Captain Dori Franklin (Molly Brown) leads the way, along with Jean Russell (Molly Brown), Katie Heil (Jackwagon), and sophomore Jackie Turner. If star sophomore Nhi Nguyen can dodge the injury bug, she could finally show the division the gamechanger she could be. With the return of Megan Cousins (2014 Defensive Player of the Year Runner-Up, Molly Brown), a potential Callahan shortlister, Colorado will be very dangerous this season.
Update: Megan Cousins is confirmed for returning for this season.
#5 – #1 will be revealed tomorrow.