NWC LACROSSE POLL: George Fox Favored Over Pacific in 2017 – But Not by Much

All-NWC First Team goalkeeper Mikaela Easterlin is one reason George Fox is a favorite for the Northwest Conference women's lacrosse title in 2017.
All-NWC First Team goalkeeper Mikaela Easterlin is one reason George Fox is a favorite for the Northwest Conference women's lacrosse title in 2017.

2017 Northwest Conference Women’s Lacrosse Pre-Season Coaches’ Poll




‘16 NWC

’16 ALL

George Fox University





Pacific University (Ore.)





Whitman College





University of Puget Sound





Linfield College





(Points awarded on a 5-3-2-1 basis.  Coaches could not vote on their own teams.)


NWC LACROSSE POLL: George Fox Favored Over Pacific in 2017 – But Not by Much


HILLSBORO, Ore. – After tying for the Northwest Conference championship last year, George Fox University is a slight favorite over 2016 co-champion Pacific University (Ore.) to win the 2017 NWC women’s lacrosse title, according to a pre-season poll of the league’s five coaches as announced Thursday morning by the conference office.


George Fox received three first-place votes and a total of 18 points in the poll to two firsts and 16 points for Pacific.  Points were awarded on a 5-3-2-1 basis, and coaches were not permitted to vote on the teams.


George Fox finished 9-5 overall and 7-1 in the conference last year.  NWC Player of the Year Alexa Nakashimada has graduated, leaving a big hole at midfielder, but the Bruins bring back six players who earned All-NWC accolades to fuel their chances for another conference title in 2017.  Attacker Jess Hanson (Jr.), defender Katelyn Bradshaw (Sr.), and goalkeeper Mikaela Easterlin (Sr.) were First Team choices, while attacker Ashlie Hernandez (Jr.) and defenders Lauren Abshire (Sr.) and Yecenia Arrezola (Sr.) received Second Team honors.  The Bruins are under the guidance of fourth-year coach Natalie Harrington, who has compiled a 26-16 record in her three years.


Pacific had the conference’s best overall record last year at 10-4 and went 7-1 in league play.  Defender Mahea Wong, an Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association All-West Region Second Team and All-NWC First Team selection, is gone, as is All-NWC Second Team attacker Nicki Leeming, but All-West Second Team and All-NWC First Team midfielder Meg Chapman (Sr.) headlines a solid list of returnees.  Also back are All-NWC First Team attackers April Lanz (Sr.) and Jordyn Godfrey (Jr.) and midfielder Paisley Hiefield (Sr.), plus Second Team goalkeeper Adrienne Salzwedel (Sr.).  Jacqueline McDevitt, a former head coach at Oberlin College and Holy Family University in Philadelphia, takes over coaching duties at Pacific this season.   


Whitman College, coming off a 4-10 season and a third-place finish in the conference at 4-4, picked up 10 points for third in the poll.  The Blues graduated All-NWC Second Team midfielder Sam Sheffer, but hope to challenge the favorites behind First Team midfielder Lindsay Schwartz (So.) and defender Dana Casterella (Jr.), along with Second Team defender Sarah Myers (So.).  Whitman’s program is now in its third season under NWC Coach of the Year Katie Robinson, a former NCAA Division III All-American at Catholic University.


The University of Puget Sound came in fourth in the poll with seven points after going 2-12 overall and finishing fourth in the league at 2-6.    The Loggers must replace All-NWC Second Team attacker Callie Holgate and midfielder Kerrie Smith, but a talented nucleus returns in First Team defender Elena Becker (Sr.) and Second Team attacker Roxanne Krietzman (Jr.) and defender Hailey Shoemaker (Sr.).  Carrie Sabochik is in her second season as the Loggers’ head coach after nine years as a UPS assistant.


Linfield College, which went 0-15 overall and 0-8 in the league last spring, received four points and placed fifth in the poll.  The Wildcats’ rebuilding program will center around returning All-NWC Second Team midfielder Mae Seifert (So.), but the offense took a hit with the graduation of All-NWC First Team attacker Kelsey Dammarell and the loss of Second Team midfielder Genna Hughes due to a basketball injury.  The Wildcats will be under new leadership this season as Sean Hansen takes over the program after head coaching stints at Sierra Nevada College and LaGrange College in Georgia.


The 2017 season gets under way on Friday, Feb. 17, when Whitman visits Southwestern University (Texas).  The first conference game of the year will be on Saturday, March 4, when George Fox hosts Whitman.  The conference champion is determined by results of a double round-robin schedule of eight games each; there is no conference tournament, and the NWC has no automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament.