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College Lax: 10 Players to Watch

Stanford, Ca - April 19, 2019: The Stanford Cardinal v University of California Golden Bears Women's Lacrosse at Maloney Field at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium in Stanford, CA. Final score, Stanford Cardinal 17, University of California Golden Bears 6.

Spring is almost upon us, which means college lax is officially back. As the 2020 season gets underway, we’ve got a list of the ten players you should expect to see filling up the stat sheets, taking home some hardware, and leading their teams on deep tournament runs come May.

1. Jamie Ortega, University of North Carolina, Junior

Named the US Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Player of the Year, Ortega holds UNC’s single-season record with 81 goals. She was named MVP of the 2019 ACC tournament after putting up a school-record 12 points in the Tarheel’s championship victory. Known for making big plays in big moments, Ortega was also named to the 2019 All-NCAA Tournament Team after racking up five goals and two assists in the semifinal game. Our prediction: Ortega takes home this year’s Tewaaraton (Player of the Year Award) as she extends her reign as one of the greatest offensive threats in the country.

2. Kali Hartshorn, University of Maryland, Senior

Hartshorn has dominated the past few seasons as a draw control specialist and a goal scorer, recording at least 100 draws controls and 35 goals each season since her freshman year. She’s on track to surpass the draw control record of Maryland legend – and perhaps the greatest college lacrosse player ever – Taylor Cummings. After recording 137 draw controls and putting up an impressive 48 goals last year, Hartshorn will have a chance to beat Cummings’ single-season record for draw controls in Maryland history this year (144). Whether or not she hits that mark, expect her to still net her fair share of head-turning goals.

3. Charlotte North, Boston College, Junior

North is one of the best ball-handlers in the game right now (and here’s the proof). A recent transfer from Duke, she led the Blue Devils with 59 and 82 goals as a freshman and sophomore, respectively. Now she’ll have a chance to be BC’s main offensive threat, after the Eagles graduated most of their top scorers from last year. A walking highlight-reel, expect North to come out firing as she looks to find a rhythm with her new teammates.

4. Brindi Griffin, University of Maryland, Senior

In 2019, she led her team in assists and scored a hat-trick in the Terps’ 2019 National Championship win. Griffin’s playing style is similar to her sister Brooke’s, a former two-time All-American and National Champion at Maryland, as both excell at feeding and dodging to the goal. While she hasn’t yet been recognized as an All-American, don’t be surprised to see her end up on the first team this year as she establishes herself as the leader of Maryland’s offense while continuing to put up goals like this:

5. Katie Hoeg, University of North Carolina, Senior

Last season, Hoeg clocked 73 single-season assists, breaking her own single-season school record of 50 set the year prior. Named an IWLCA second-team All-American, Hoeg became the second Tarheel to ever record 104 points in a season, joining fellow attacker Jamie Ortega. After last year’s loss in the NCAA semifinals, you better believe Hoeg will be hungry for a title this year. If her and Ortega can continue to find each other, expect UNC’s offense to be just about unstoppable.

6. Ali Biacco, Stanford University, Junior

Biacco has almost single-handedly transformed the once-sluggish Stanford offense since arriving as a freshmen, turning the Cardinal attack into a well-oiled machine defined by quick execution and crisp transition play. Biacco won the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Award in 2018 before leading the Pac-12 with an astonishing 80 goals (and nine hat tricks) as a sophomore. Under the guidance of new offensive coordinator Megan Whittle, a three-time All American at Maryland, expect Biacco to push the tempo as she looks for creative ways to score against defenses committed to shutting her off.

7. Quinton Hoch-Bullen, University of Denver, Junior

Hailing from Canada, Hoch-Bullen is best known for her otherworldly stick skills. In 2019, she was named the Big East Attacker of the Year and ended the season with 59 goals. In an especially memorable performance, Hoch-Bullen netted a team-high five goals against Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, ultimately leading Denver to its first-ever NCAA Quarterfinal appearance. Expect her to repeat as Big East Attacker of the Year this year as she helps Denver reclaim the league championship after just falling short in double overtime last year.

8. Kerrigan Miller, University of Southern California, Senior

When all is said and done, Miller might go down as one of the best west coast lacrosse players of all time – and it’s not hard to see why. Last season, Kerrigan made waves as one of youngest players to play for the US National Team in the Spring Premiere. She then went on to lead the Pac-12 in caused turnovers (a whopping 41) while repeating as the league’s Midfielder of the Year. Expect her to both be a Tewaaraton finalist and claim her first All-American First Team award as she continues to captain USC’s offense.

9. Emma Trenchhard, University of North Carolina, Junior

The reigning ACC Defender of the Year, Trenchard will once again be one of the top defensive players in the game this year. In 2019, Trenchard recorded 24 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers while regularly shutting down the other team’s best player. After spending her off-season training with Team USA, expect Trenchard to anchor the best defense in the country alongside Kayla Wood and Catie Woodruff as the Tarheels look to secure their third NCAA title.

10. Sam Fish, Princeton University, Junior

A one-woman brick wall, Fish gained national attention last year in the 2019 Quarterfinals when she stopped a record nine goals against then No. 1 Boston College. With 192 saves and a .482 save percentage, she went on to win IVY League Goalie of the Year, solidifying her reputation as one of the best netminders in all of college. Look for her to be the backbone of a Princeton team that may just surprise a few people come tournament time.