Crisler finds her calling with 9-0 Shorewomen

Freshman steps into goal, sets tone for team on roll

Women's notebook

College Lacrosse

April 03, 2003|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

When Ashley Crisler arrived at Washington College, she expected to play attack, but a knee injury to returning goalie Mandy Higdon changed all of Crisler's plans.

The freshman, who had played a few minutes in the goal at North Carroll, suddenly became the Shorewomen's starter.

"At North Carroll, I was the backup, backup goalie," said Crisler, with a laugh. "This is really a new position, but I've never gotten so much support for anything in my life."

Crisler, filling a void left when Higdon (Catonsville) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament last fall, has come through in a big way as the Shorewomen have gotten off to the best start in school history.

Wednesday, Crisler made 12 saves in a 12-3 victory at Swarthmore. She leads the Centennial Conference in save percentage at .614, allowing just 6.2 goals per game.

But Crisler, whose twin sister, Megan, is a starter on defense, is just one bright spot in a season full of milestones.

The Shorewomen's 9-0 start, including five conference victories, is the longest winning streak in school history. Coach Eleanor Shriver Magee also picked up her 50th victory and is the program's all-time winningest coach at 55-37.

Janet Studdiford scored her 100th career goal in the Swarthmore victory. Casey Sawma has 99. Betty Weller became the career leader in ground balls and caused turnovers.

The Shorewomen, who finished 9-8 last season, are winning big, too. Their average margin of victory has been 10.5 goals.

"That just shows that we have a presence on both ends of the field," said senior defender Amanda Hare, another North Carroll graduate. "We're doing the job on attack and defense and that makes a huge margin."

Their biggest test of the season comes tomorrow when the Shorewomen travel to meet No. 6 Gettysburg, the defending Centennial Conference champion.

Cornell stays on track

Cornell graduated seven seniors, including All-American midfielder Jaimee Reynolds, from a team that reached the final four last season, but the Big Red hasn't lost any ground.

Opening with six straight wins, No. 7 Cornell has allowed only 21 goals. An 11-6 victory over Penn Saturday was its 14th straight regular-season win and its 14th straight at home.

Sarah Averson leads an attack averaging 15 points a game with 21 goals and six assists.

The Big Red has also gotten a boost from freshman Allison Schindler (St. Paul's), who has contributed four goals and a team-high eight assists.

"Even though our marquee players in 2002 were seniors, if people say that success was based solely on those seniors, they're selling short the rest of the women," said Cornell coach Jenny Graap.

Ranked ninth in the preseason, the Big Red moved up after a season-opening, 13-5 win over then-No. 7 Notre Dame.

"I think people were waiting to see our Notre Dame game," said Graap. "Notre Dame was highly touted early and we handled them pretty well. That garnered us some attention, but it's always about proving yourself and I have no problem with that."

The competition will jump up a notch now as the Big Red faces five straight ranked teams, beginning with tomorrow night's visit from No. 4 Princeton. Cornell has lost 15 straight to the defending national champs.

Honors for McDonald

Johns Hopkins goalie Jen McDonald earned American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Week honors after anchoring victories over Northwestern, 14-7, and Vanderbilt, 8-5. The senior made nine saves against Northwestern and 10 against the Commodores. She has a 7.55 goals-against average and a .524 save percentage for the No. 18 Blue Jays.

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