Article and Photos by Leigh Ernst Friestedt
April 6, 2019
Digital Media Sports by Leigh Ernst Friestedt
NCAA Women's Lacrosse - Division I
Gone are the days when Freshmen ride the bench, waiting for a chance to play behind upperclassmen. As lacrosse continues to grow across the US, top female student-athletes are recruited from all over the country to help Division I women's lacrosse teams contend for a national championship. These Top Freshmen are elite athletes who can handle the physical and mental demands of playing on a top team early in their collegiate careers.
The 2018 season was a breakout year for Freshmen earning starting positions on the top teams and making an immediate impact on the field. For many of these Top Freshmen, they had to work their way into the starting lineup, but once they were on the field, played a key role for their teams.
The pressure to win at the Division I level is very competitive - coaches increasingly rely on Freshmen to step-up and play their rookie year. Top Freshmen often bring a new dimension to a team, a fresh approach to the game, and skillset that fills a void in a lineup.
Excited to be at college and play for a Division I program - this eager innocence often results in "fearless play" that is dangerous and difficult to anticipate for an opposing team. With each game, these Top Freshmen continue to grow and develop, gaining more confidence and playing an increasingly important role on the field.
While most of the Top Freshmen play on attack or midfield, where their stats are more apparent, two of the top goalies: Molly Dougherty (JMU) and Taylor Moreno (UNC), came off the bench to earn starting positions mid-season and lead their teams in 2018 post-season play.