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Dylan Amonte and Erin Coykendall celebrate against Boston College.

Loaded Northwestern No. 1 in USA Lacrosse Division I Women's Preseason Top 20

January 17, 2024
USA Lacrosse Magazine Staff

Northwestern, which steamrolled its way to a national championship in May, is back atop the women’s lacrosse world as the No. 1 team in the USA Lacrosse Division I Women’s Preseason Top 20, USA Lacrosse Magazine announced Wednesday.

The USA Lacrosse Division I Women’s Preseason Top 20 is put together by USA Lacrosse Magazine staff with input from coaches around the country.

With the returns of 2023 Tewaaraton Award winner Izzy Scane and 2023 Tewaaraton Award finalist Erin Coykendall, Northwestern boasts the top 1-2 punch in college lacrosse — but the Wildcats’ weaponry doesn’t stop there. Head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller has a bevy of top-tier talent at her disposal, including top 2023 freshman Madison Taylor. Transition spark plugs Samantha Smith and Sammy White are back to dominate the middle of the field, too.

The offense did lose graduate student Hailey Rhatigan, but Amonte Hiller brought in Mary Schumar, who had 69 assists and 89 points for Marquette last year.

And a welcome surprise was the return of goalie Molly Laliberty, who backstopped the Wildcats last year after an impact spring coming over from Division III Tufts.

Ranking second in the USA Lacrosse Preseason Top 20 is Boston College, the NCAA runner-up that likely won the transfer portal with its haul of now-junior attackers Emma LoPinto (Florida) and Rachel Clark (Virginia). The last time Boston College brought in a superstar attacker after her sophomore year? That’d be when Charlotte North came to Chestnut Hill in the summer of 2019. That, of course, turned out pretty well for the Eagles.

North Carolina checks in at No. 3, followed closely by Denver — the surprise of the 2023 season — at No. 4. Rounding out the top five is Syracuse, which moves into the post-Meaghan Tyrrell era with her sister, Emma Tyrrell, and Emma Ward leading the offense.

Continue below to see the full USA Lacrosse Division I Women’s Preseason Top 20.


Syracuse's Emma Ward prepares to shoot.
Emma Ward and Syracuse are ranked No. 5 entering 2024.


1. Northwestern
2. Boston College
3. North Carolina
4. Denver
5. Syracuse
6. Maryland
7. Notre Dame
8. James Madison
9. Loyola
10. Stony Brook
11. Johns Hopkins
12. Florida
13. Army
14. Penn State
15. Penn
16. USC
17. Michigan
18. UMass
19. Princeton
20. Virginia

Also considered (alphabetical order): Clemson, Duke, Navy, UConn