Taylor's Takes: 10 Predictions for 2024 Season
Taylor Cummings shares 10 insights and predictions ahead of Friday's opening day of the women's lacrosse season.
I feel like I say it every season, but the best time of year is officially here!
The 2024 spring campaign officially kicks off Friday, and I couldn’t be more excited to see how everything plays out over the next few months.
The women’s lacrosse world has seen huge changes in the offseason with new (and somewhat controversial) rule implementations, major facility upgrades, impactful transfers and much more. We have so much to look forward to watching this season, but I’ve narrowed the list down to just 10 key players, teams and predictions to start.
I look forward to sharing my takes and insights with you this spring as we watch what is hopefully the best season yet!
TOO EARLY TEWAARATON TOP FIVE
Izzy Scane, Sam Thacker, Belle Smith, Erin Coykendall, Emma Tyrrell
I expect these five to be involved in the Tewaaraton Award chatter come May. Superstar Izzy Scane is returning for her last season at Northwestern after securing both a national championship and a Tewaaraton. Coykendall also returns for the Wildcats as the second part of Northwestern’s dynamic duo, and her craftiness is matched by few.
Smith is the definition of a workhorse and impacts every single facet of the game, and Tyrrell has the ability to create havoc on both ends of the field as well as in the center circle for the Syracuse. The lone defender on my list is Sam Thacker, a player who anchors one of the top defenses in the country and leads in every aspect.
BIG THINGS FROM MARTELLO
Kayla Martello has been an impact player for the Eagles from the moment she stepped onto BC’s campus in 2021, but she has often stood in the media background by playing alongside fellow phenomenal attackers like Charlotte North and Jenn Medjid. She’s a player who always does the little things incredibly well and has stood out to me consistently because of that.
Martello creates space, finishes her shooting opportunities consistently, works well in two-man situations and reads defensive schemes impeccably. With the graduation of Medjid, she has the perfect opportunity to step up and be the veteran leader the Eagles need on the offensive end while working with talented transfers Emma LoPinto and Rachel Clark.
Brigid Duffy is one of my favorite players to watch compete because she just goes so hard all the time. She’s aggressive in every single aspect of her game — dodging, riding, defense and even with her risk taking — and plays with a combination of flare, fun and grit that I absolutely love to see in two-way midfielders.. Duffy never played like a freshman, with her confidence growing from game to game, and I can only imagine how solid she’s feeling coming back for year two. A confident Duffy is a player all teams need to fear and respect.
JOHNS HOPKINS IS UNDERRATED
The Blue Jays finished 2023 with a 9-9 record under first-year head coach Tim McCormick, which to some might look mediocre. But of their nine losses, five were by three goals or fewer, and of those five, three were against top 10 teams. The Blue Jays of 2023 played with an intensity and creativity I hadn’t seen from previous teams, and if that new identity remains a permanent one, they could really shake things up. Adding Northwestern grad Madison Doucette in the cage will bring even more stability to their defensive unit and give additional chances to their dynamic offense.
ANOTHER PIOS FINAL FOUR?
An appearance for Denver in the Final Four was not on my 2023 list of predictions, and boy was I wrong to think otherwise. The Pioneers had a spectacular season full of gritty defensive play, composure in big moments and confidence in their offensive schemes and game plans. They honestly reminded me of a Northwestern team from the early 2000s — tactical, aggressive and surefooted. I can’t wait to see if they can grow and push their level of play even farther. If they can get more consistent production from their key offensive players in big moments while continuing their defensive prowess, they can go all the way.
OVER THE HUMP
Every season, there are always a few teams that consistently come up in my “Is this the year?” conversation. For me, it feels like I’ve been waiting years for teams like Notre Dame, Loyola and Stony Brook to get over the NCAA quarterfinal hump and get to the Final Four. Each squad always has an amazing regular season run yet doesn’t make a Final Four appearance. I’m hoping this is the year that at least one of these talented squads gets over that hump and competes Memorial Day Weekend because the lacrosse world is ready to see them. Who will it be?
HOW WILL DUKE REBOUND?
The Blue Devils’ season was not what most had anticipated. They missed the NCAA tournament again and had an 8-10 record despite having one of the top incoming freshman classes and plenty of talented returners, including draw legend Maddie Jenner. With the graduation of many impact players, the Blue Devils have a lot of work to do on both ends of the field if they want to turn the tide. The good news is that their younger players have another year of college lacrosse under their belts and are primed to use the lessons from last season productively and positively. They just need to do so more consistently than ever.
A NEW ERA FOR VIRGINIA
With the departure of long-time coach Julie Myers, new blood is officially on the sidelines in Charlottesville. Sonia LaMonica came from Towson and took over this summer, along with assistants Mike LaMonica, Kerrigan Miller and Caylee Waters, and I’m so intrigued to see what the new brand of UVA lacrosse looks like. Based on how Towson has played in the past, I expect a gritty, more tenacious style of defense with aggressive goalie play and a creative, yet technical offense that embodies the strengths of the players.
A NEW WAVE OF SYRACUSE LEADERS
A massive chunk of offensive production left the JMA Wireless Dome when the Megan Show of Meaghan Tyrrell and Megan Carney and stud midfielder Sierra Cockerille graduated in May. These three combined for 214 points and were key cogs in the Orange’s dynamic offense that gave defenses fits. With the loss of these three creative weapons, I’m very interested to see how coach Kayla Treanor continues to build the offense around returners Emma Ward, Olivia Adamson and Emma Tyrrell. Knowing Treanor, this year’s offense will be just as creative and fluid as any other year, especially with transfers and freshmen now in the mix.
ACC: Boston College
America East: Albany
Atlantic 10: UMass
Big East: Denver
Big South: High Point
Big Ten: Northwestern
CAA: Stony Brook
MAAC: Mount St. Mary’s
MAC: Robert Morris
Pac 12: Stanford