WASHINGTON, D.C. - After advancing to the third round of the NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship and ranked 14th in the nation last year, the Catholic University women's lacrosse team will begin this season ranked at No. 15 in the IWLCA Preseason Poll released Monday.
The Cardinals finished 15-7 a year ago and undefeated in the Landmark Conference for the fifth-straight year while capturing their fifth consecutive conference championship. They have been nationally-ranked in the last 28 consecutive IWLCA polls and in eight of the last 10 years.
Catholic will play against eight of the teams who are ranked in the poll, including No. 4 Salisbury in its home opener and inaugural game at Carlini Field on February 24.
The Cards will face five nationally-ranked opponents in a seven-game span from March 12 to April 3. The team will face No. 12 Wesleyan (Conn.) on March 12 at U.S. Lacrosse before traveling to No. 14 Cortland on March 16 at Mount Sinai High School in New York.
From there, the Cardinals will host No. 7 Franklin & Marshall on March 20, travel to No. 16 Messiah on March 27 and host an NCAA rematch with No. 6 York (Pa.) on April 3.
Catholic will face its final two ranked opponents on the road as it heads to No. 8 Mary Washington on April 16 and No. 21 Rowan on April 25.
This year's schedule also features nine opponents who went to the NCAA tournament a year ago, seven of whom come in the first 10 games of the season. In addition to the eight nationally-ranked teams who all made the postseason, the Cards travel to Meredith on March 10.
Those nine NCAA tournament teams had a combined record of 152-52 (.745).
Gettysburg, the defending national champion, claimed the top spot in the IWLCA Preseason Poll with 20 of the 25 available first place votes. The Bullets edged out second-ranked Middlebury in last year's NCAA title game, 11-9.
All 25 teams in the preseason poll were ranked in the final coaches poll of 2018.
The 2019 Coaches Poll will include 25 teams and be released weekly during the regular season. The first Division III regular season poll for the 2019 season will be published on February 25.
Click here to see the entire preseason poll.