College Preseason Power Rankings (Women’s Division): #25 – #11

The College Power Rankings are back!

The Ultiworld Power Rankings.

We are excited to present the first 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. North Carolina Pleiades (2015: 4th in Atlantic C0ast)

Is this finally the year Pleiades is back? People may not remember that UNC made five straight trips to the College Championships, including two quarterfinal appearances to end that run. This is nearly a copy and paste job from last season (where they started #24 before disappearing after QCTU), as they have again a new coaching staff (Jessi Jones and Jenna Dahl of Phoenix), a potential star in Jenny Wei, and a resurgent look about them. Sophomores Vany Nguyen and Elisabeth Parker are both ready to takeover after super freshmen campaigns. They helped a surprisingly explosive UNC team to 4th at CCC this fall.

24. Notre Dame Womb (2015: T-17th at Nationals, Great Lakes Champion)

Last year was a breakout season for Womb, winning the Great Lakes and qualifying for the Championships. The party crashers begin the season as the favorite to do so again after an undefeated run up to Nationals. While they lost their dominant thrower, Kelsey Fink, they bring back a huge playmaker in Julia Butterfield, one of the breakout players of 2015. Heather Fredrickson and Nicole Vujasevich will take over the heavy throwing duties, and Sarah Lipscomb will continue to develop as a downfield weapon, helping to replace the loss of Amalia Carmona. Keep an eye on what kind of schedule ND takes on this season.

23. Tufts Ewo (2015: 4th in Northeast)

One of the biggest shockers of last year was Tufts missing Nationals; they were the highest ranked team to do so. Bouncing back while losing star Qxhna Titcomb is also going to be challenging, but they bring back most of their other big impact players. Handlers Jojo Emerson and Laura Fradin are going to touch the disc often, while Winnie Zhang, Emily Eibl, and Rachel Kramer will likely do a lot of goal scoring. How they defend could decide whether or not they are at home during May, but their spot looks rather precarious after last year’s conclusion.

22. Wisconsin Bella Donna (2015: 2nd in North Central)

The journey back to prominence has been a long one for Wisconsin, but it seems like they may finally be turning the corner. Anna Hrovadt-Staedter is a dynamo and will be a lot for teams to handle. Add in Caroline Mueller, Anna Paulson, and standout recruits Britney Kokinos and Carly Siewert, and you get enough talent to push Bella Donna forward. And if Rachel Romaniak is able to play in the spring…

21. UC Davis Rogue (2015: 7th in Southwest)

After landing the three seed at Southwest Regionals, Rogue struggled when the pressure was on and tumbled to a 7th place finish. But the talent on this team is undeniable, led by All-Region candidates Jazmin Jordan and Cheryl Hsu. Added depth from Veronica Chan and Amanda Meroux will be a strong point for a returner-heavy Davis squad that should again be a top team in the Southwest. But they’ll need to convert close losses into marquee victories if they want to get to Nationals.

20. Cal Pie Queens (2015: 6th in Southwest)

It has been a disappointing couple of seasons for a Cal team with high expectations and less than stellar results. But Marisa Rafter makes for one hell of a personnel return, and she looked healthy and ready dominate this club season with Nightlock. A team losing Sharon Lin (and Ziyue Chen, Kira Lou, etc) is a surprise pick to make big strides forward, but they have back Polar Bears cutter Alex Hasan and standout sophomore Jackelyne Nguyen, who can stuff a highlight reel.

19. Minnesota Ninja (2015: T-5 in North Central)

As part of a big upswing of talent in the North Central – in large part due to the growing youth scene – Minnesota looks like they are in for a big year. Mixed Club champion Sarah Anciaux has been a dominant cutter in the region for years and should be known nationally by season’s end. Greta Regan leads the handling corps, and a deep group of vets with club experience are going to be bolstered by one of the best recruiting classes in the country. They could get back former All-Region captain Mindi DePaola, too. 

18. Western Washington Chaos (2015: 6th in Northwest)

The next highest ranked team behind Tufts to miss Nationals was Western Washington. With a great coaching staff headed by Alyssa Weatherford, there’s no reason not to expect WWU to be a top ranked again. Abbie Abramovich and Tiffany Phan lead the charge, but they’ve got some depth with Jendy Edgerton, Jessie Thoreson, TQ Wen, and Ariel Edwards. Maddie Gilbert has all the hallmarks of a star player who could help them overcome where they came up short last season.

17. Colorado College Lysistrata’s Tools (2015: 4th in South Central)

Many wrote off their trip to Nationals two years ago as product of Lisi Lohre’s heroics, but last year showed Colorado College is not a one trick pony. Chloe Rowse is a rising star as a deep threat and she’s going to have freshman phenom Frances Gellert joining her. But Lysistra’s Tools’ talent goes deeper, with vets like Corey Baron, Patty Weicht, and potential breakout Robin Fassett-Carman returning. They’ll be sharpened by the increasingly competitive South Central and be a threat to be a fast riser.

16. Victoria Vixens (2015: T-9th at Nationals, 5th in Northwest)

Having quietly built one of the most consistent programs in the country, there’s plenty of reason to believe in the Vixens’ staying power. Naomi Redmond and Corinne Dunwoody both return to make a formidable 1-2 punch. Expect Lillian Pham and Maisin Berezan to help Victoria continue to be a grinding team that makes for a difficult matchup and is capable of winning ugly. The rankings bubble could be packed tight, but they could head back to Nationals for a 3rd straight year despite losing Kate Scarth.

15. Carleton Syzygy (2015: T-3rd at Nationals, North Central Champion)

After yet another big year with a trip to semifinals, this high a ranking is really a step back for Syzygy. Losing Emily Buckner and Lucia Childs-Walker can do that. But Carleton isn’t going to fade away quietly. Claire Thallon was a dependable playmaker in 2015 and will step up into a central role along with junior handler Claire Rostov. If Katie Ciaglo can get and stay healthy, she could be another high impact backfield presence, if not the star of the team. Sophomore Emma Nicosia is also likely to make a name for herself as a downfield weapon.

14. Kansas Betty (2015: T-17th, 2nd in South Central)

Firmly establishing themselves as one of the best teams in the South Central, the Bettys return two of their stars, Caitlin Fitzgerald, a 1st Team All-American, and Clare Frantz. That can help them improve on a T-17th finish at Nationals. While they lost some critical contributors in Jenni Corcoran, Kailee Karr, and Nadine Rowen, they also bring back Grace Roth and Kelsey Akin, who both were impactful last season. Jordan and Alex Kaczor will help as difference makers this year. They’re a well-coached team that’s thrived on loyalty to one another and that shouldn’t fade. They have a lot of potential to move up.

13. Pittsburgh Danger (2015: T-17th at Nationals, 2nd in Ohio Valley)

Coming off a hugely successful 2015 campaign that got them back to Nationals, most of the core of a very competitive Pitt team is back. Centrally, that’s All Star Ultimate’s Carolyn Normile and backfield partner in crime Vaughan Skinker, one of the most effective handler duos in the country with their quickness, throws, and chemistry. Linda Morse came on strong last year and she’s been a major downfield threat for Danger. They have enough pieces to threaten to finally dethrone Ohio State.

12. Texas Melee (2015: T-9th at Nationals, 3rd in South Central)

Most of 2015 was tumultuous for an inconsistent Texas team before they showed up in the Series in a big way, including scoring a huge upset over UCLA at Nationals, the top seed in their pool. Nearly everyone from Melee is coming back — Andrea Esparza, Laura Hickman, Nikki Gilbert, Shiru Liu — and they’ll get further development from outstanding sophomores Domenica Sutherland and Laura Gerenscer. Deeper, more experienced, and more poised, Texas has what it takes to win the South Central.

11. Washington Element (2015: T-13th at Nationals, 4th in Northwest)

As one of the premier programs in the country, Element will continue to be a strong team capable of big results. Losing their grad student crop diminishes their starpower, but Nora Landri, Grace Noah, and Cami Canter are an excellent veteran core. Sarah Edwards is likely back for another year and can take over the field, while the new recruits look promising. The program has had a strong developmental focus that should give them some depth to play with.

The Top 10 will be announced tomorrow!

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