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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s lacrosse team opens the 2010 season Sunday against William & Mary as the No. 16 team in the country, according to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) preseason poll released Tuesday.

Fellow American Lacrosse Conference team member Northwestern, the five-time reigning national champions, sit in the top spot of the poll with all 20 first-place votes. Vanderbilt, at No. 11, and No. 18 Penn State round out the ALC schools in the Top 20.

Three other conferences – the ACC, Ivy League and Big East – boast four schools in the poll. All four of the ACC schools rank in the Top 10, starting with 2009 semifinalist No. 2 Maryland and 2009 runner-up North Carolina at No. 4. Duke comes in at No. 5 and Virginia rounds out the Top 10 at No. 10. The Big East has three schools in the top half as Syracuse, Georgetown, and Notre Dame run 6-7-8, respectively; Loyola starts the season ranked at No. 14.

William & Mary, who the Buckeyes face at 1 p.m. Sunday in Williamsburg, Va., comes in at No. 20.

Now wn her 15th season, Sue Stimmel and the Buckeyes are coming off a record-breaking campaign in 2009. The Buckeyes jumped out to the best start in program history (9-1) and moved up as high as No. 11 in the national polls before finishing in a tie for second in the American Lacrosse Conference behind Northwestern.

Paced on the attack by IWLCA All-American Kelly Haggerty, the Buckeyes were 11-6 overall a year ago and 2-2 in one of the toughest leagues in the nation.

 TEAM Record Votes
1. Northwestern   1-0   400 (20)
2. Maryland   0-0  376
3. Pennsylvania  0-0  354
4. North Carolina  0-0  345
5. Duke  0-0  313
6. Syracuse  0-0  286
7. Georgetown  0-0  280
8. Notre Dame   0-0  247
9. Princeton  0-0  240
10. Virginia  0-0  239
11. Vanderbilt  0-0  184
12. Boston Univ.  0-0  178
13. Stanford  0-0  153
14. Loyola  0-0  134
15. Dartmouth  0-0  112
16. Ohio State  0-0  79
17. Towson  0-0  68
18. Penn State  0-0  62
19. Cornell  0-0  38
20. William & Mary  0-0  31
     

Also receiving votes: Boston College, Denver, Fairfield, Harvard, New Hampshire