Louisville Women’s Lacrosse Picked Sixth in BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll

The Cardinals were predicted to finish tied with Connecticut and ahead of Villanova and Cincinnati.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville women’s lacrosse team was picked to finish tied for sixth by the league’s head coaches in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll, league officials announced Wednesday.

The Cardinals return 17 letterwinners from last season’s squad, including Nikki Boltja, an all-region and all-BIG EAST selection, and Monica Negron, who was named to the all-region second team squad. The team also regains the services of one of the top playmakers in the country in Katie Oliverio, the 2010 NCAA Division I statistical champion in assists per game (2.71). She garnered second team all-region and all-conference honors in 2011, but had to miss the 2012 season after tearing the ACL in her right knee. Louisville finished the 2012 campaign ranked No. 9 nationally in draw controls and 18th in caused turnovers.

Boltja, who started all 15 games on offense last year, was selected to the 2013 preseason all-BIG EAST Team. The Medina, Ohio, native finished the year ranked first in the conference and fourth nationally in goals per game (3.53) and 20th in total goals (53). She tallied goals in 13 of 15 contests and scored at least three goals in 10 different games. In the early part of the season, Boltja tied the single-game school record, when she found the back of the net seven times against Longwood.

Led by head coach Kellie Young, who enters her sixth year with the program, the Cardinals went 3-12 last season, with a 1-7 conference record. This year’s group boasts nine newcomers, including a transfer from George Mason in Anna Kopecka, a U.S. Lacrosse first team All-American in Cortnee Daley and Kaylin Morissette, co-captain of U-19 Canadian National Lacrosse Team.

Syracuse was unanimously picked as the preseason favorite. The Orange returns 10 starters and 24 letterwinners from last year’s team. Syracuse earned all eight first-place votes and totaled 64 points in the poll. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.

Syracuse (19-4, 8-0 BIG EAST) advanced to the NCAA Championship title game last year before losing to then-No. 2/2 Northwestern, 8-6. The Orange went undefeated in BIG EAST regular-season play and totaled a school-record 19 wins.

Syracuse senior Michelle Tumolo, the league’s preseason Offensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season, was a unanimous pick for the distinction. Accordingly, she was a unanimous preseason all-BIG EAST pick as well. Last year, Tumolo had a career-high 95 points, was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award and was named the BIG EAST Attack Player of the Year. Last year, Tumolo registered 52 goals and 43 assists.

Senior teammate Becca Block is the league’s unanimous preseason defensive player of the year. Block started all 23 games for the Orange last year and anchored a defense that allowed just 8.87 goals per game. That figure led the league and ranked 11th nationally. Block was an IWLCA first team All-America selection as well as a unanimous all-BIG EAST selection. She also totaled 47 draw controls, 34 ground balls and 13 points.

Loyola (14-6, 7-1 BIG EAST) was picked to finish second with 57 points, including one first-place vote. The Greyhounds won the BIG EAST tournament last year with a 13-7 win over then-No. 2/2 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. It was the second straight year the Greyhounds had captured the league’s tournament title.

Notre Dame (13-5, 6-2 BIG EAST) was picked to finish third in the preseason coaches’ poll with 48 points. The Irish were one of three BIG EAST teams in the NCAA Championship last year. Notre Dame had three players on the league’s preseason all-BIG EAST team, including unanimous selections Margaret Smith and Barbara Sullivan. Smith (a junior) and Sullivan (a sophomore) anchored the Notre Dame defense, which allowed 10.42 goals per game. Junior attack Lindsey Powell also earned a spot on the league’s preseason all-BIG EAST team. She had 44 goals in 16 games last year.

Georgetown (9-8, 5-3 BIG EAST) was picked to finish fourth in the standings with 44 points. Three Hoyas were selected to the preseason all-BIG EAST team. Senior midfield Sophia Thomas, a unanimous pick, had 38 goals in 17 games last year. Classmates Ashley Hunter and Kelsi Bozel also were named to the preseason team.

Rutgers (9-7, 4-4 BIG EAST) was picked fifth and will look to senior Stephanie Anderson to lead the team. A preseason all-BIG EAST selection, Anderson had 41 goals and five assists last season.

Connecticut and Louisville were tied for sixth with 26 points, while Villanova and Cincinnati rounded out the poll.

The BIG EAST championship is set for May 2, with the title game set for May 4. The championship will be held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.


2013 BIG EAST Women’s Lacrosse Preseason Coaches’ Poll

1.Syracuse (8)64
2.Loyola (1)57
3.Notre Dame 48
First-place votes in parentheses 


2013 BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

*Michelle Tumolo, Syracuse, Senior, Attack


2013 BIG EAST Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

*Becca Block, Syracuse, Senior, Defense


2013 BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST Team

Stephanie Anderson, Rutgers, Senior, Midfield

*Becca Block, Syracuse, Senior, Defense

Nikki Boltja, Louisville, Junior, Midfield

Kelsi Bozel, Georgetown, Senior, Midfield

Alyssa Costantino, Syracuse, Junior, Goalkeeper

Ashley Hunter, Georgetown, Senior, Defense

*Alyssa Murray, Syracuse, Junior, Attack

*Marlee Paton, Loyola, Junior, Midfield

Lindsey Powell, Notre Dame, Junior, Attack

*Margaret Smith, Notre Dame, Junior, Defense

*Barbara Sullivan, Notre Dame, Sophomore, Defense

*Annie Thomas, Loyola, Sophomore, Attack

*Sophia Thomas, Georgetown, Senior, Midfield

*Sydney Thomas, Loyola, Sophomore, Midfield

*Michelle Tumolo, Syracuse, Senior, Attack

Katie Webster, Syracuse, Junior,

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