State Outlook

Women's College Lacrosse Preview

February 25, 2003

Division I

Johns Hopkins

Coach: Janine Tucker (111-40, 10th season).

2002 record: 10-8

Conference: American Lacrosse.

Top returning point-getter: Heidi Pearce, junior A (47 goals, 10 assists).

Also back: Meghan Burnett, senior A; Erinn Dennis, senior M; Jen McDonald, senior G; Kate Barcomb, junior M; Kate Gilland, junior D; Lacey Hentz, sophomore D.

Key additions: Sarah Walsh, freshman A; Kelley Putnam, freshman, M; Lauren Riddick, freshman G; Meagan Voight (Liberty) freshman A.

Sun's take: The Blue Jays have finished the past three seasons ranked in the Top 20, but for their fifth season in Division I, Tucker says that's not good enough. Taking aim at the top 12, Tucker is making wholesale changes in her program, with a new style that will better fit the athleticism of her team. She'll encourage more versatility and some freelancing. "We're going to throw caution to the wind," said Tucker. "We'll have a different look on offense, more run and gun, because we have the athleticism now to do that. Defensively, we're going to throw in a matchup zone." Even with 10 freshmen seeing action, the Blue Jays have a solid core of veterans, including Pearce and Burnett (24, 10) on attack. Dennis returns to the midfield after a season off. McDonald brings back a 9.51 goals-against average and a .506 save percentage, but she could be pushed by Riddick.

Loyola

Coach: Diane Geppi-Aikens (180-69, 15th season).

2002 record: 15-4.

Conference: Independent.

Top returning point-getter: Suzanne Eyler, senior M (51, 13).

Also back: Marianne Gioffre, senior D; Jen Albright, senior M; Jaclyn Borrone, junior M; Rachel Shuck, junior A; Talia Shacklock, sophomore M; Kate Hardesty, senior D; Kristi Korrow, junior M; Susan Tyrell, senior M: Christy McNew, senior A; Kim Lawton, junior G.

Key additions: Cindy Nicolaus (Mount Hebron), freshman G; Chrissy Nicolaus (Mount Hebron), freshman A; Laura Carper (Mount Hebron), freshman D; Sydney Green, freshman A.

Sun's take: The loss of a couple of three-time All Americans -- midfielder Stacey Morlang and goalie Tricia Dabrowski -- seems so huge that it tends to overshadow the end-to-end strength the Greyhounds return. Only three starters graduated, leaving the Greyhounds with the experience and leadership to pick up where they left off -- or a step ahead of that. Last season's loss to Maryland in the first round of the NCAA tournament still stings, giving the Greyhounds more than a little extra incentive to make a run at the national title. Getting to the tournament could be a little tougher this year, because Loyola dropped its affiliation with the Colonial Athletic Association, leaving the six-time champ in need of an at-large bid. With a strong mix of experienced players and promising newcomers, the Greyhounds have depth and versatility at every position. "We won't be running people into the ground this year. Our dynamics are even a little bit different. We've picked up some new things and we're still good at the things we were good at last year," said associate head coach Kerri Johnson, who is running the day-to-day operation of the program although Geppi-Aikens continues to coach while battling brain cancer.

Maryland

Coach: Cindy Timchal (203-22, 13th season).

2002 record: 11-10.

Conference: Atlantic Coast.

Top returning point-getter: Kelly Coppedge (50, 25), junior M.

Also back: Greta Sommers, sophomore D; Annie Collins, sophomore A; Sonia Judd, senior A; Julie Shank, senior D; Acacia Walker, sophomore M; Kristie Leggio, sophomore A; Molly Lambert, junior M; Tess McLeod, junior D.

Key additions: Delia Cox, freshman A; Jaimee Motley (St. Mary's) freshman M.

Sun's take: Many of the Terrapins carried heavy loads for youngsters last season, and they are all the better for it. The Terps remain young, but they are hungry to get back to the team form that brought them seven straight national championships between 1996 and 2001. Maryland continues to play the toughest schedule in the nation, with 14 of its 16 opponents ranked among the preseason Top 20. "With our schedule, we're going to be tested early," said Timchal. "A lot of other teams have the luxury of racking up some stats early, but we certainly will be challenged." The Terps have their first four games at home, with the first three -- including weekend ACC contests with Duke and North Carolina -- at their turf facility. In addition to Coppedge, Judd (34, 19) and Walker (19, 14) bring proven firepower and Collins appears poised for a breakout season. Defensively, the Terps are sound with Shank and Sommers. Goaltending has been inconsistent, but Alexis Venechanos had some terrific outings last season.

UMBC

Coach: Monica Yeakel (58-43, seventh season).

2002 record: 12-5.

Conference: Northeast.

Top returning point-getter: Jen Dragoni (36, 17) junior A.

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