When James Madison's women's lacrosse team comes to Towson this weekend to defend its Colonial Athletic Association tournament title, the Dukes will be without their best attacker, John Carroll graduate Casey Ancarrow who is sidelined for the second time in her college career with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Ancarrow, a third-team All-American last season, redshirted her freshman year with an ACL tear but was the CAA Rookie of the Year the following season. She is tied for the Dukes lead in goals with 34 and draw controls with 35 and is second in points with 43 despite missing the last three and a half games.
“Casey is a luxury for any coach,” Dukes coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe said. “She’s somebody who can get draws and goals at will and she has the ability to step up in key moments of games to finish plays. That’s a franchise player you can’t replace.”
A two-time All-Metro attacker who helped John Carroll to back-to-back IAAM A Conference titles her junior and senior year, Ancarrow was a third-team All-American last season and had scored at least a point in her first 55 games. In the 56th, April 13 against William & Mary, she hurt the knee about seven minutes into the game and left without a point.
With Ancarrow sidelined, three other local players have helped pick up the slack for the Dukes (10-6) – Monica Zabel (Mount Hebron), Amy Roguski (Liberty) and Caitlin McHugh (Mercy).
“We’ve tried to ask the entire team to collectively step up and contribute toward those aspects of the game (goals and draw controls),” Klaes-Bawcombe said, “and we’ve had a lot of success doing that and winning games despite the loss of Casey, but I think it’s a challenge.”
Zabel, a senior attacker leads the team in points with 27 goals and 43 assists. Her 43 assists is a school single-season record and she also has the career record of 115, breaking the mark set by Megan Riley (South River) in 1999.
Roguski, a sophomore midfielder, is tied with Ancarrow with 34 goals and ranks third in scoring with 56 points. McHugh, a senior midfielder, ranks is fourth in scoring with 24 goals and 29 points.
“Luckily we do have a very balanced attackand a lot of our offense is catered toward ball movement, so we didn’t have to completely go back to the drawing board, but we have asked Amy Roguski, Monica Zable, Caitlin McHugh -- and the other person is Ashley Kimener to step up specifically and they’ve all done a good job. They’ve put us in position to be second seed,” said Klaes-Bawcome, who was an All-Metro player at Loch Raven.
James Madison takes on Hofstra in the CAA semifinals Friday at 2:30 after Towson, which beat the Dukes 10-9 in double overtime Sunday to earn the top-seeded spot, meets Drexel at noon. The title game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday. All games will be played at the Tiger Soccer Complex.