PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- In just its third year as a varsity program, the Pace University women's lacrosse team, the Setters, will open the 2017 season ranked 18th in country, according to the Nike/US Lacrosse Women's Division II Preseason Poll. This marks the team's first-ever appearance in the national rankings.
The Setters' rise to national prominence comes after a breakout second season for the program in 2016. Pace finished 10-8 overall last year, a five-win improvement from its inaugural season, qualified for its first-ever Northeast-10 Conference Championship Tournament and won its first-ever Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship.
This year, the team has earned a spot among the top 20 in the nation, despite having played just 34 games in the program's history. At the conclusion of the 2016 season, LaxPower.com ranked the Setters as the nation's most improved team, thanks in part to several marquee victories including wins over Bentley University and Saint Anselm College. Their defeat of 17th ranked Bentley last March was the Setters' first-ever win over a nationally ranked opponent.
The Setters were well-represented on the 2016 NE10 All-Conference Team. Najmah James (Danbury, Conn./Danbury High School) made her second straight appearance on the Second Team, while Casey Gelderman (Farmingville, N.Y./Sachem High School East) jumped from All-Rookie in 2015 to Third Team in 2016. Abby Haimson (Montville, N.J./Montville High School) joined Gelderman as a Third-Team member. Courtney Pabst (East Patchogue, N.Y./Bellport High School) earned All-Rookie honors in her first season. Gelderman, Haimson and James all also earned 2016 ECAC All-Star honors.
Pace joins six other NE10 schools in the top 20 polls. National Runner-Up and 2016 NE10 Champion, Adelphi University, begins the season at No. 2, while Le Moyne College sits at No. 5, Bentley at No. 13 and Stonehill College at No. 17. Behind Pace, Southern New Hampshire University and Saint Anselm round out the rankings at No. 19 and No. 20, respectively.
The Setters open their third season on the road on Saturday, Feb. 25, when they visit No. 3 LIU Post in a non-conference matchup in Brookville, N.Y. Pace will then host Queens College in the Setters' home opener on Friday, March 10, at Pace Stadium at 6:00 p.m.