February 1, 2012

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Boston College Primed for Big Season

from press release

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Boston College lacrosse will enter the 2012 season, its seventh in the ACC, led by an impressive group of veterans charged with laying the foundation for one of the strongest incoming classes in program history. The 2012 team returns all but four starters from last season, but with the addition of one sophomore transfer and five freshmen – deemed the No. 6 recruiting class in the nation –BC is poised for even greater success in the year to come.

"We are in the best place BC lacrosse has been in heading into a season," head coach Bowen Holden said. "We have a clear idea of what to work on and what we are capable of. We are all very excited about the spring, and the teams we will face will be the right mix of challenges as we look to achieve our ultimate goal."

Attack

Junior Brook Blue, sophomore Moira Barry and freshman Covie Stanwick have worked hard in the offseason to create strong connections and a fluid, team-oriented attack that they will use to lead the Eagles' offense in 2012.

"Brook plays with great intensity and fire," Holden explained. "At the same time, it is great to see Covie come in as a freshman and step into her role with such confidence and poise. Lastly, Moira is a combination of the two, mixing strength, fire and poise. They have all found a way to work extremely well together."

Adding depth to this position will be senior Ginny Gummersall, who provides height, speed and talent off the ball. Sophomore Kelly McNelis is also expected to continue to earn minutes this season thanks to good stick work and a strong shot.

Midfield

Kristin Igoe, returning as a graduate student, will be the backbone of the Eagles' midfield this season, serving as a strong influence on both sides of the ball.

In addition to Igoe, the 2012 Eagles' roster will boast several options in the midfield.

"For the first time in my seven years at BC, we have significant depth in the midfield, to the point where we have trouble deciding who to put on the field," Holden commented. "We have six or seven solid options. Middies have to be great defenders, and to be great defenders, they must have great energy for 60 minutes, so this depth allows us to maintain a defensive, high-pressure mindset."

Some options in the midfield for BC include senior Brittany Wilton, an All-American attacker in 2011, who was converted to midfield for 2012.

"Brittany has embraced the new role to become one of the team's top midfielders," Holden said.

Seniors Sam Taylor and Katherine Caufield add a strong, confident combination of offense and defense to the midfield, while freshman Mikaela Rix will be an important addition to the BC roster in 2012.

"The experience Sam and Katherine bring to the field is immense and they will certainly play critical roles this spring," Holden commented. "Mikaela has been an amazing addition because even though she is just a freshman, she plays with the confidence and talent of a junior or senior."

Junior Caroline Martignetti, who also made the move from attack this offseason, is another strong option in the midfield, especially with her tenacious ability between restraining lines. Sophomore Cali Ceglarski is striving to see some minutes as she works her way back from injury, while freshmen Rachel Igoe and Stephanie Sabatini provide even more depth and are working hard with the hopes of seeing playing time.

After working hard to return from injury, sophomore transfer Meghan Conley and sophomore Carly Weilminster look to earn their way onto the field this spring. Sophomore walk-on and BC soccer player, Kate McCarthy, will also look to add to the Eagles' efforts in the midfield.

Defense

Junior Jessie Coffield and sophomore Claire Blohm will anchor the defense in 2012. Coach Holden is looking to rely upon Coffield for the aggressive spark she adds to the back line, in addition to Blohm's size and power.

"I'm thrilled with Claire's improvement," Holden said. "She came in last year as a walk-on and saw some minutes, but we took her because we saw potential. She has done everything any coach has asked without questions. Claire gives everything a try and is willing to make mistakes in order to learn, and that has helped her make incredible strides in the offseason."

Senior Elizabeth Donovan and junior Ali Meagher will be a solid combination for providing the calmness and experience needed on defense. Donovan has seen significant time since she was a freshman so she also adds an air of confidence to the back line.

Sophomore Kara O'Connell is expected to see some minutes in 2012 after making significant strides this fall and freshman walk-on Lauren Bronson will add depth. Senior Kate Collins also hopes to return to action after battling injuries last fall.

Goalkeeper

Senior Catherine Conway is scheduled to be the team's starting goalkeeper heading into the spring.

"Catherine has stepped up this fall, showing a real confidence," Holden explained. "She has been around the team and has experience with the way we play the game. She is one of the best athletes on the team and that transfers into the cage. Catherine could easily become one of the top goalkeepers in the country if she sets her mind to it."

Another option for the Eagles this year will be freshman Emily Mata, whose strong performance in preseason practices has created some competition at the goalkeeper position.

"Emily is doing well to exceed expectations. We knew she was good coming in, but she plays with such patience and poise, something you wouldn't expect out of a freshman goalkeeper," Holden said.

Schedule

The Eagles' 2012 schedule includes seven matchups against opponents who were ranked in the nation's top 20 at the end of last season: No. 2 Maryland, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 4 Duke, No. 8 Albany, No. 14 Virginia, No. 17 Syracuse and No. 20 Harvard.

"Each year, our strength of schedule improves and 2012 is no different," Holden said. "I am really looking forward to seeing our team compete against the best in the country, and we are very confident about this team's ability."

Boston College will begin the season with a two-game road swing at Holy Cross (Feb. 17) and Syracuse (Feb. 21) before returning to the Heights for the home opener against Hofstra on Saturday, Feb. 25.

The Eagles will host Virginia Tech in the squad's first ACC matchup of the season on Saturday, March 10. BC will also play home against conference rival North Carolina in 2012, but will travel to Maryland, Virginia and Duke.

Postseason

Last year the Eagles advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament and earned a bid into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. In 2012, the Eagles strive to go even further and make their second consecutive NCAA appearance.

"Every year, the goal is for the senior class to leave BC in a better place than they found it in," Holden said. "This senior class has already achieved that, but there is a thirst for much more. Our mission is kept within our team, but I can confidently say the 2012 team has big plans. We will take it one step at a time, one game at a time, and in the end we hope to be where no BC team has been before."


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