CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Senior Maddy Lesher has been named the Preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and the Loyola University Maryland women’s lacrosse team has been tabbed as the preseason favorite for the third time in as many years, as voted on by Patriot League coaches and sports information directors and released by the League office Thursday.
Lesher, a two-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, earned Preseason All-America First Team honors this year after picking up her second-straight IWLCA All-America honor last season. The mark-up defender from Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, led the Greyhounds’ field players with 46 ground balls and 25 caused turnovers in 2015.
Mathis earned a spot on the preseason team as a defender after picking up All-Patriot League Second Team honors as a midfielder last year. Playing in all 22 games a year ago, the Fort Worth, Florida, native collected nine ground balls, 30 draw controls and 10 caused turnovers.
Wolf was named to the Preseason All-America Second Team by ILWomen this season and is the lone goalkeeper on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Wolf earned her first career All-Mid-Atlantic Region honor after finishing last season ranked second in the NCAA in save percentage (.517) and fourth in saves (180). In addition, her 7.86 goals-against average ranked 13th nationally.
Defensively, the trio combined to help Loyola rank 15th in the NCAA with an 8.09 goals-against average in 2015. The unit limited 14-straight opponents to nine goals or less, including seven to six goals or less. In Patriot League games, Loyola’s defense ranked first in goals-against average (6.25), save percentage (.550) and caused turnovers per game (11.00).
In the preseason poll, the Greyhounds captured the maximum amount of 162 points and all 18 first-place votes available, while Navy checked in second with 144 points and the two remaining first-place votes as schools could not vote for themselves. Boston University was third with 122 points, while Colgate was close behind with 118 points. Lehigh (104 points) and Holy Cross (72) round out the top six, respectively, followed by Lafayette (56), American (53), Army West Point (38) and Bucknell (31).
The Greyhounds will open their 44th season of competition on Friday, Feb. 6 at Florida. Game time is scheduled for noon.