Division III

March 03, 2000|By Bill Free

College of Notre Dame

1999 record: 8-9

Coach: Melissa Falen (11th season, 86-81-1)

Key players: Angela Ruocco, So., A; Erin Sturgis, So., M; Bonnie O'Shields, Jr., D; Laura Cooney, Jr., A; Beth Pryor, So., M; Mo Ober, Sr., G.

Top newcomer: Jessica Musgrove, Fr., M.

Outlook: The Gators have dominated the small-time Atlantic Women's Colleges Conference for four years, winning every league game and four straight conference titles in the five-team league. Nothing should change this year, as Ruocco returns after winning AWCC Player of the Year honors last season as a freshman. Ruocco scored 59 goals and had 14 assists in 1999 to easily lead the team in scoring. Sturgis, the second-leading scorer last season with 47 goals and 11 assists, is also back. Add Cooney and Pryor to the mix and the offense should be ready to roll again. Cooney had 13 goals and 7 assists last year and Pryor scored 18 times and had 1 assist. But the defense is young and veteran Ober will need to have a stellar year in goal to make up for all the inexperience in front of her.

Frostburg State

1999 record: 9-6

Coach: Eric Day (second season, 9-6)

Key players: Heather Brown, Sr., A; Laura Basil, So., A; Kelly Waskey, Sr., M; Wendy Redmer, Sr., M; Ann Macey, Jr., D.

Top newcomers: Beth Bettien, Fr., G; Katie Bender, Fr., D; Kim Turner, Fr., D; Andre Duffy, Fr., D/M.

Outlook: Life in the independent lane is tough for Frostburg. "We have to go after an undefeated season to make the NCAA playoffs," said Day. The Bobcats lost six games last season with now-departed Tennille Foster in goal. Foster, out of Perry Hall, was the No. 1 NCAA Division III goalkeeper last year. Ann Macey is a defender from North County High in Anne Arundel County who will playin front of Bettien in the net and will be expected to take up some of the scoring slack left by the departure of Laura Hemmings, whose 56 goals last season established a school single-season record. Day was something of an instant hit last year in his first season as head coach, guiding the Bobcats to their first winning season since 1993. He was kind of a last-resort choice three years ago to become an assistant women's lacrosse coach at the school "because I was from North Harford High and the only one who knew anything about the sport."

Goucher

1999 record: 6-11

Coach: Kara Silberg (first season)

Key players: Lauren Manekin, So., A/M; Muffie Bliss, So., A; Alison Healey, So., D; Kate Jarvis, Jr., A; Tina Neuman, Jr.;, M/A; Stephanie Caplan, Jr., M; Danna Gosney, So., M; Kim Rogers, Jr., M; Megan Zeller, So. G.

Top newcomer: Stephanie Norris, Fr., D.

Outlook: Silberg, a former Park School lacrosse and field hockey standout , is on a mission as she returns home to Baltimore. Silberg plans to rebuild the Gophers into the same top-flight Division III program that advanced to the NCAA semifinals four years ago and combined a 31-3 record over the 1995 and 1996 seasons. She takes over a squad that has only 14 players and is intent on building endurance this spring to compensate for a lack of numbers. The success of Silberg's first Goucher team will revolve around the midfield and Manekin, Bliss and Healey who were all second-team Capital Athletic Conference choices last year as freshmen. Manekin was all over the field last season, scoring 61 goals, handing out 13 assists and controlling 47 draws. However, the defense is thin and inexperienced, with Healey the only starter returning.

St. Mary's

1999 record: 15-4

Coach: Robert Bray (first season)

Key players: Karen Nichols, So., A; Kelly Fetter, Sr., M; Kathy Holmes, So., M; Sue Welsh, Jr., A; Emilee Berner, Jr., D; Laura Williman, Jr., A; Jen Bernhard, Sr., G; Sara Morell, Jr., D; Trisha Taylor, Jr., D; Jane Romano, So., D.

Top newcomers: Brianne Smithson, Sr., M/D; Courtney Young, So., M; Robyn Novak, So., A.

Outlook: Don't try to paint Bray into a corner this season as he takes over a highly successful Seahawks program that has won back-to-back Capital Athletic Conference championships and made two straight trips to the NCAA Division III tournament. "I'm not worried about anything," said Bray, even though he has lost three All-Americas and seven starters from last year. Bray spent the last eight seasons as an assistant with the St. Mary's men's team and takes over for Laura Biggs, who was named the head women's lacrosse coach at conference rival Marymount. Biggs was 28-7 in two years and seems to have left the cupboard bare for Bray. "Seventeen of my 23 players have one year or less experience and none of our new players were recruited," said Bray. There is one All-America from last year returning, and that is Fetter, who had 55 goals, 24 assists, 70 ground balls and 37 caused turnovers last year. Fetter and Nichols will lead the Seahawks as they continue their annual duel with Salisbury State for CAC supremacy. Salisbury State has been given the edge over St. Mary's this year in most of the preseason polls.

Salisbury State

1999 record: 12-4

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