Division I Outlook

February 11, 2006|By KATHERINE DUNN

Johns Hopkins

Coach -- Janine Tucker (145-56,13th season)

2005 record -- 11-6

Conference -- American Lacrosse

Top returning point-getter -- Mary Key, junior A (55, 32)

Also back -- Lauren Riddick, senior G, A; Kadie Stamper, sophomore M; Cherie Michaud, sophomore, D; Sarah Walsh, junior A.

Sun's take -- The Blue Jays return a wealth of talent after graduating just two starters, and that should help them continue their steady Division I climb. Last year's stellar freshman class is a year older and wiser. With a veteran goalie and experience all over the field, the Blue Jays have speed and balance on attack. That should help them go farther than the NCAA first round and improve their standing in the conference. Conference losses to Ohio State and Penn State along with a 12-3 setback to eventual national champ Northwestern in 2005 ranked among the few disappointments during the regular season.

Loyola

Coach -- Kerri O'Day (19-15, third season)

2005 record -- 5-11

Conference -- Big East

Top returning point-getter -- Kate McHarg, junior M (58, 4)

Also back -- Sydney Greene, senior A; Cindy Nicolaus, senior G; Talia Shacklock, senior M; Stephanie Walker, senior M.

Sun's take -- The Greyhounds struggled through injury in 2005 to their first losing season since 1989. Having eight starters return - including Shacklock and Walker, who are back from injuries - bodes well for the Greyhounds' rebound attempt. They return 88 percent of their scoring, the core of their defensive unit and a veteran keeper. It couldn't come at a better time as they make their debut in the Big East after being without a conference for three years. Look for McHarg, fresh off helping Australia to the World Cup title, and Greene (34, 3) to energize the attack while Lauren Carper, Kristin McKay and Kristen Stone anchor the defense.

Maryland

Coach -- Cindy Timchal (248-38; 16th season)

2005 record -- 12-7

Conference -- Atlantic Coast

Top returning point-getter -- Katie Doolittle, junior M (33, 9)

Also back -- Delia Cox, senior M; Brooke Richards, senior A; Casey Magor, sophomore M; Kelly Kasper, sophomore M.

Sun's take -- The Terrapins won't have to wait long for their first test as defending national champion Northwestern comes to Maryland for tomorrow's season opener. Six starters graduated, but the Terps return considerable experience in the midfield and on attack. Defensively, they will rebuild with Becky Clipp and Martha Raver setting the foundation in front of first-time starting goalie Allie Buote. The Terps face a tough ACC schedule, especially with Duke, the preseason No. 2, and North Carolina, picked No. 5. The No. 4 Terps will face both on the road, although they play 11 of their 17 games at home and the ACC tournament at M&T Bank Stadium.

UMBC

Coach -- Courtney Martinez Connor (first season)

2005 record -- 5-10

Conference -- America East

Top returning point-getter -- Kelly Fiorani, senior M (30, 12)

Also back -- Kelly Fahey, junior M; Ali Levendusky, sophomore A; Ede Carpenter, senior M; Megan Mullins, junior M.

Sun's take -- After four seasons at Mount St. Mary's, former Maryland All-American Connor takes over a Retrievers squad hoping to bounce back from a disappointing 2005. Eight starters return while nine freshmen and four transfers could push them. The Retrievers have a strong, deep midfield led by Fiorani, with 101 career goals, and Fahey (18, 15). Defensively, they will be young, especially in goal, where freshmen Susie Sweeney and Jen Venter are vying for the starting spot while veteran Kristina Raab recovers from a back injury. The Retrievers should be more competitive, but they face a tall task in a conference that figures to be dominated by defending champ Boston U, the host of this year's Final Four over Memorial Day weekend.

Mount St. Mary's

Coach -- Denise Wescott (first season)

2005 record -- 14-6

Conference -- Northeast

Top returning point-getter -- Casey Paris (42, 15)

Also back -- Kelly Nangle, senior D; Kelsey Withrow, senior D; Kirby Day, senior A; Jen Davison, senior M.

Sun's take -- The Mountaineers have a new coach and a new goalie, but not much else has changed. The two-time defending Northeast Conference champions return nine starters, including their entire line defense. Wescott has plenty to like about this group. The German national team coach and former Delaware coach inherits a team that has the talent to replace three All-Conference players and remain at the top of the conference. There is strength and balance around the field. The biggest question will be in goal, where Valerie Brown and Jane Karger are competing to replace Naomi Campano-Radio.

Towson

Coach -- Missy Holmes (27-10, third season)

2005 record -- 13-6

Conference -- Colonial Athletic

Top returning point-getter -- Shannon Witzel, junior A (71, 13)

Also back -- Becky Trumbo, senior A; Mandy Corry, sophomore G; Erin Rinella, senior D; Shanna Bartlinski, senior D.

Sun's take -- The Tigers are coming off the most successful season in the program's history, winning the CAA championships and advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time. In the tournament opener, they came close to knocking off perennial power Georgetown before falling, 15-14. With all but four starters back and potentially four or five starting freshmen, the Tigers appear in good position to keep moving up. Witzel and Trumbo (52, 31) are one of the best scoring combinations in the country, and Corry made a name for herself quickly as a freshman in goal. The Tigers have solid units up and down the field and could improve on their preseason No. 15 ranking.

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