ODAC Releases Women's Lacrosse 2010 Preseason Poll

Roanoke College received eight out of nine possible first place votes and 78 total poll points, as the Maroons headline the 2010 ODAC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll. Washington & Lee University ranks second with 70 tallies, while Virginia Wesleyan College rounds out the top three with 56 points. The remaining first place nod went to Lynchburg College, which occupies the fifth spot in the poll.

Both the Maroons and Generals find themselves tightly packed in a pair of other polls heading into the spring campaign. Roanoke is slotted 18th in the LaxMagazine.com preseason poll, with Washington and Lee clipping at its heels in 19th position. The Maroons sit 17th in the recently released survey from the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Association (IWLCA). The Generals are 19th in that listing.

Roanoke (16-5 overall, 8-0 in the ODAC in 2009) welcomes back several key student-athletes from its 2009 ODAC title-winning squad, including reigning Player of the Year, Gina Valles (South Windsor, CT, Westminster ). An IWLCA Second Team All-American last season, Valles led the ODAC in goals scored (75) and total points (98) as she helped fuel the Maroons to their 10th conference title, tied for the most in ODAC history with Washington & Lee. Head coach Mary Schwartz, last season's ODAC Coach of the Year recipient, also welcomes back three other All-ODAC First Team Selections in attack Paige Mason (Orangeville, Ontario, Canada, Orangeville)(35 goals, 32 assists) and defenders Carolyn Clark (Baltimore, MD, Towson)(1G, 31 groundballs, 21 caused turnovers) and Alida Haslett (Bryn Mawr, PA, Radnor)(1G, 43GB, 33CT). All-ODAC Second Team midfielder Cristen Sanfilippo (Sparks, MD, Hereford)(3G, 4A, 41GB, 19CT) is also back in the fold in Salem.

Washington & Lee (13-5, 7-1) had won six straight ODAC crowns before 2009's title game loss to Roanoke. The Generals have their eyes set on an 11th overall conference championship in 2010, but it will have to do so without the services of 2009 IWLCA Third Team All-American, Kelsi Robinson, following graduation. Back to help with that task are a pair of All-ODAC First Team athletes and the Generals' top scorers from last season, Britten Mathews and Emmy Mathews (no relation). Emmy, a junior midfielder, led the W&L with 41 goals and 48 total points. Britten, a senior attack, notched 30 goals while handing out 13 assists. Britten will be joined up front by Meredith Freeman, who scored 30 goals to go with nine helpers.

Virginia Wesleyan (9-9, 5-3) looks to take that next step in its program history with the Marlins focused on their first ODAC championship game appearance since 2006. VWC will be without three of its all-conference performers from a season ago, but plenty of talent remains, especially with leading scorer Laura Norris in tow. Norris, an All-ODAC First Team attack in 2009, finished second in the ODAC with 54 goals scored and 79 total points. She'll be joined on the defensive end by All-ODAC Second Team choice Anna Kate Collier. The junior defender scored one goal to go with 20 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers.

Of the 24 members of the 2009 All-ODAC First or Second Teams, 15 student-athletes are set to return to the fields. Guilford College, Lynchburg College and Randolph-Macon College each welcome back a pair of second team choices. The Quakers look to continue their progress with midfielders Carrie Ernst (45G, 10A) and Shelly Nogueira (35G, 22A) back in Greensboro. Midfielder Morgan Logue (35G, 14A) and defender Katie Reynolds (40GB, 25CT) will help both sides of the field for Lynchburg. Randolph-Macon will also have help on each end, thanks in part to the return of attack Erin Clare Cassidy (22G, 21A) and defender Stephanie Serena (1G, 1A, 15GB, 16CT).

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