Division I state outlook

Women's College Lacrosse Preview

February 26, 2005|By Katherine Dunn

Johns Hopkins

Coach: Janine Tucker (134-50, 12th season).

2004 record: 12-5.

Conference: American Lacrosse.

Top returning point-getter: Mary Key, sophomore A (52, 22).

Also back: Erin Riordan, senior A; Lacey-Leigh Hentz, senior D; MeaganVoight, junior A; Lauren Riddick, junior G.

The Sun's take: The Blue Jays finally took that giant step into the top 10 last season and now are aiming for the top five. With only four starters lost to graduation and a multitalented freshman class expected to earn considerable playing time, they should pick up where they left off. The Blue Jays started 10-0 last season, but repeating that feat might not be easy because of some tougher early opponents, including a newcomer to the schedule - Princeton in New Jersey on March 5. Still, with a loaded offense, a stingy defense and a veteran goalie, Hopkins should be competitive with everyone.

Loyola

Coach: Kerri (Johnson) O'Day (14-4, second season).

2004 record: 14-4.

Conference: Independent.

Top returning point-getter: Sydney Greene, junior A (43, 13).

Also back: Rachel Shuck, senior A; Cindy Nicolaus, junior G; Kim Lawton, senior G; Talia Shacklock, senior M; Stephanie Walker, senior M.

The Sun's take: The Greyhounds return a balanced group for their final season without a conference affiliation. Next year, they jump into the Big East. In the meantime, they are looking for their ninth straight trip to the NCAA tournament. The Greyhounds are strong up and down the field. Shuck holds the school record for assists in a career with 86 and she has plenty of options. The biggest question is on defense after graduating three stellar players. Still, with returning starters Erin Cyphers and Laura Carper, the defense should be fine, especially since it is backed up by two of the best goalkeepers in Division I. Look for Nicolaus and Lawton to continue splitting time.

Maryland

Coach: Cindy Timchal (236-31, 15th season).

2004 record: 15-5.

Conference: Atlantic Coast.

Top returning point-getter: Delia Cox, junior M (47, 6).

Also back: Acacia Walker, senior M; Greta Sommers, senior D; Annie Collins, senior A; Jessica Dorney, senior A; Kirah Miles, senior G.

The Sun's take: The Terrapins will have a new look on attack this season after losing three-time All-American Kelly Coppedge and her 98 points to graduation. Look for more scoring by committee with lots of players capable of a big day. The addition of freshman Kelly Kasper (Century), one of the most highly recruited players in the country, gives the attack even more depth. The Terps suffered their biggest turnover on defense, where Sommers and Miles are the only returning starters. However, there are players ready to step in and that high-powered offense should keep the Terps in contention as the defense comes along. Still, nothing will be easy for Maryland, which plays one of the nation's toughest schedules and will have three other top-eight teams to contend with for the ACC title.

UMBC

Coach: Monica Yeakel (73-63, ninth season).

2004 record: 5-11.

Conference: America East.

Top returning point-getter: Kelly Fiorani, junior M (34, 13).

Also back: Stephanie Crouch, senior D; Lauren Hess, senior A; Kate Worthington, junior A; Julie Libertini, junior D, Kelly Fahey, sophomore M.

The Sun's take: After a third-place finish in their first season in the America East, the Retrievers plan to challenge for the conference title. They face a less demanding nonconference schedule than last season, but one that should still challenge them. Returning nine of their top 10 scorers, the Retrievers have plenty of firepower. However, they are not as experienced at the defensive end, where Crouch will lead a young group backed by sophomore goalie Kristina Raab, who earned the starting job late last season. A handful of players returning from injury and illness and those additions could help the Retrievers challenge preseason favorite Boston University and defending champ New Hampshire for the conference title.

Mount St. Mary's

Coach: Courtney Martinez Connor (31-25, fourth season).

2004 record: 15-5.

Conference: Northeast.

Top returning point-getter: Erin LaMotte, senior M (40, 10).

Also back: Naomi Campano Radio, senior G; Katie Mason, sophomore, M; Nicole Di'Angelo, senior A; Kirby Day, junior A; Leeann Robustelli, junior D.

The Sun's take: The Mountaineers enjoyed the best season in school history last year, posting a winning record for the first time since 1998, taking the conference title, and advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time. It all starts on defense, where Northeast Player of the Year Campano Radio holds nearly every school goalkeeping record. On attack, the Mountaineers led the conference with 11.35 goals a game last season and return their top six scorers. Returning all but three starters gives them experience all over the field as they contend with Quinnipiac and Monmouth for another title.

Towson

Coach: Missy Holmes (14-4, second season).

2004 record: 14-4.

Conference: Colonial Athletic Association.

Top returning point-getter: Becky Trumbo, junior A (45, 19).

Also back: Martha Dwyer, senior, D; Amy Shilling, senior D; Amy Middleton, senior M; Caitlin Marshall, senior M; Shannon Witzel, sophomore M.

The Sun's take: Holmes made her head coaching debut a memorable one, guiding the Tigers to the strongest showing in school history with an appearance in the CAA semifinals. The Tigers had a knack for winning the close ones, with six of their victories last season coming by one or two goals. To keep the momentum going, they will have to compensate for the loss of seven starters, including a veteran goalie. Sophomore Jackie McAllister and freshman Mandy Corry are vying for the starting job. The Tigers will be helped by the return of a strong defensive line in Dwyer, Shilling and Erin Rinella. They also have some rebuilding to do in the midfield, but they look strong on attack.

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