South Charlotte

Royals women ranked 16th in preseason lacrosse rankings

Queens women’s lacrosse coach Julika Blankenship (center) goes over plans with her players before the start of practice. The Royals are picked to win their third straight South Atlantic Conference title.
Queens women’s lacrosse coach Julika Blankenship (center) goes over plans with her players before the start of practice. The Royals are picked to win their third straight South Atlantic Conference title.

The women’s lacrosse team at Queens University is days away from its season opener, but already they’re drawing some national attention.

The Royals were ranked No. 16 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association NCAA Division II preseason poll, which came out Feb. 2.

Queens, which has won back-to-back South Atlantic Conference regular-season and tournament titles, was the only ranked conference team. Lenoir-Rhyne, the SAC’s runner-up the past two years, was one of three teams that received votes.

Defending national champion Adelphi was the preseason No. 1 pick, getting 16 of 20 first-place votes and 394 total points. That beat out No. 2 pick Le Moyne, which got the other four first-place votes and 377 total points.

The rest of the top five were Lindenwood at No. 3, New Haven at No. 4 and Florida Southern – one of five Top 20 teams the Royals will face this season – coming in at No. 5.

Queens, which opens the 2016 season on Feb. 21 against Tampa at the Queens Sports Complex, will host No. 14 Seton Hill on Feb. 29, No. 5 Florida Southern on March 25 and No. 11 Limestone on April 25. The team also has road games at No. 6 Rollings on March 7 and No. 12 Mount Olive on April 14.

“While we can’t allow ourselves to get too caught up in the preseason rankings, it definitely provides fuel to the fire with five teams on our schedule ranked ahead of us,” Royals coach Julika Blankenship said.

Queens was picked by the SAC’s coaches as the preseason favorite to win its third consecutive league title, getting eight of nine first-place votes. The Royals also placed seven players on the SAC preseason all-conference team, six of those first-teamers.

SAC Players of the week

Men’s lacrosse players Garrett Chan and Erin Dolan were named SAC Players of the Week for the opening week of the 2016 season, league officials announced Feb. 8.

Chan, a senior attacker, got offensiver honors after scoring two goals and assisting on six others in the Royals’ 12-6 season-opening win over Florida Southern on Feb. 7. Dolan, a senior goalkeeper, made 10 saves in Queens’ win over Florida Southern.

NCAA qualifying track times

The men’s and women’s indoor track team came away from the Buccaneer Invitational meet in Johnson City, Tenn., on Feb. 5-6 with four provisional qualifying marks for the NCAA Division II championships -- and six school records.

Senior sprinter/jumper Nikia Squire set three of the D-II qualifying marks, in the women’s 200-meter dash (also setting a school record) and long jump, and teaming with Miranda Wood, Asia Hart and Kathy Fisher in the women’s 4x400-meter relay.

The Royals’ other provisional qualifying mark came from junior hurdler Johannes Peter in the men’s 60-meter hurdles.

School records also were set by Hart in the women’s 400-meter dash, sophomore jumper Marc-Kevin Schwenk in the men’s triple jump, senior thrower Khyle Higgs in the men’s weight throw, and senior thrower Dacia Thompson in the women’s shot put.

Bill Kiser is a freelance writer: bkisercltobs@gmail.com.

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