Maryland is ranked No. 2 in the Inside Lacrosse Cascade Division I Women's Media poll released today while Johns Hopkins, Towson and Loyola also cracked the Top 20.
Defending national champion North Carolina is No. 1, drawing 17 of 19 votes for the top spot. Maryland, which fell to the Tar Heels in last year's title game, got two votes for the No. 1 spot.
The Terps and Tar Heels have dominated the championship for the past four years. Maryland won in 2014 and 2015 while North Carolina won in 2013 and 2016. Both of the Tar Heels titles have come over the Terps while Maryland's 2015 crown came over the Tar Heels.
Maryland, which has been in the title game six of the past seven years with three championships, brings back a lot of talent, but the Terps will have to replace the leadership of three-time Tewaaraton Award winner Taylor Cummings and last year's national Defender of the Year Alice Mercer.
The Tar Heels also bring back a load of talent and may have the most talented, deepest midfield in Division I. They also return Caylee Waters, the National Goalie of the Year two years ago.
Rounding out the top five are No. 3 Florida, No. 4 USC and No. 5 Stony Brook.
Johns Hopkins, which is in the Big Ten for the first time, comes in at No. 18. Towson, the defending Colonial Athletic Association champion, is No. 19. Loyola Maryland, the three-time defending Patriot League champion, is No. 20.
Navy received votes but not enough to crack the Top 20.
With the season underway -- Northwestern hosts Canisius today -- the next poll will be released in two weeks.