February 10, 2012

Season Preview (WD3): Top 20 Team Outlooks

by Lacrosse Magazine staff

1. Gettysburg

2011 Record: 19-4 (8-1 Centennial Conference)
Key Player: Hannah Church set records with 26 goals and 29 points in the NCAA tournament, including eight points in the final.
X-Factor: Experience. The defending champs lost just two starters.

2. TCNJ

2011 Record: 20-1 (5-0 NJAC)
Key Player: Leigh Mitchell is TCNJ's all-time assists leader.
X-Factor: Senior midfielder Kathleen Notos, who led the Lions with 74 goals, will take on an even bigger role following Ali Jaeger's graduation.

3. Cortland

2011 Record: 21-2 (8-0 SUNYAC)
Key Player: All-time scoring leader Lindsay Abbot (62g, 76a) also makes impact on draw controls (95), defense and transition game.
X-Factor: Goaltending. Cortland played two sophomores in the NCAA semifinals. Ally Levy and Shauna Hutchinson could split time.

4. Hamilton

2011 Record: 18-2 (8-0 Liberty League)
Key Player: Rachel Friedman returns with her team-best 70 goals.
X-Factor: Defenders Lauren Sokol, Meg Pengue and Josie Jones have lined up together their entire NCAA careers for NESCAC-bound Hamilton.

5. Franklin and Marshall

2011 Record: 19-3 (9-0 Centennial Conference)
Key Player: Cat Serpe (35g, 19a) draws and runs transition game.
X-Factor: Teammates voted Maggie Mae Shields (40 GBs) as MVP.

6. Salisbury

2011 Record: 19-3 (8-0 CAC)
Key Player: Allie Wheatley (46g) is a two-way beast (20 CTs).
X-Factor: Junior defender Cat Gartner emerged as the anchor of a defense that allowed the seventh fewest goals in Division III.

7. Trinity

2011 Record: 18-1 (9-0 NESCAC)
Key Player: Three-time All-American midfielder Liz Bruno has an uncanny ability to create turnovers, causing a team-high 43 in 2011.
X-Factor: Trinity must replace NESCAC POY Rachel Romanowsky.

8. Middlebury

2011 Record: 11-6 (6-3 NESCAC)
Key Player: Lily Nguyen (9.25 GAA, .510 sv pct), the reigning IWLCA Division III Goalkeeper of the Year, is the Panthers' captain.
X-Factor: Athleticism. Six Middlebury players also played field hockey in the fall, and one played on the ice hockey team.

9. Bowdoin

2011 Record: 18-4 (7-2 NESCAC)
Key Player: Carolyn Gorajek (51g, 15a) has started since day one.
X-Factor: Experience. The Polar Bears return eight seniors from the team that made that unlikely run to the NCAA final and upset TCNJ.

10.Tufts

2011 Record: 12-7 (5-4 NESCAC)
Key Player: Stephanie Perez (32g) wins most 50/50 balls.
X-Factor: Senior defender Katie Lotz returns from injury to lead an already-deep defense.

11. Colby

2011 Record: 15-5 (6-3 NESCAC)
Key Player: Junior All-American attacker Kate Pistel's late heroics in a wild 6-5 NCAA tourney win over Hamilton spoke volumes.
X-Factor: Claire Donegan came back strong after her ankle injury.

12. Messiah

2011 Record: 18-2 (12-0 MAC)
Key Player: Junior goalie Taylor Phillips (5.18 GAA, .572 sv pct) plays an aggressive style that one rival coach described as "scary."
X-Factor: Senior Rachel Coyle (47 DCs) anchors Messiah's defense with an aggressive, turnover-causing style of play.

13. Amherst

2011 Record: 9-6 (4-5 NESCAC)
Key Player: Senior defender Meredith LaRose boasts excellent instincts and fast footwork, leading to turnovers and transition.
X-Factor: Evolution of six sophomores who saw significant time.

14. Washington and Lee

2011 Record: 15-5 (9-0 ODAC)
Key Player: Sophomore midfielder Alex Van Horn ranked fifth in Division III with 5.45 draw controls per game in 2011.
X-Factor: Senior Christina Benedetti, a regional All-American defender, will have an expanded role in the midfield.

15. Stevens

2011 Record: 16-4 (8-0 Empire 8)
Key Player: Senior attacker Michelle Buonacuore, the Ducks' top returning scorer, had 39 goals and a team-high 26 assists in 2011.
X-Factor: Brains and balance. Stevens has been named an Academic Honor Squad for nine years running.

16. Catholic

2011 Record: 15-4 (4-0 Landmark Conference)
Key Player: Gifted midfielder Mary Swarthout, a senior, led the Cardinals with 65 goals and 117 points last year.
X-Factor: Defense. Led by "the Megs" — Meghan Murray and Megan Gormley — Catholic's transition game starts with its defense.

17. Bates

2011 Record: 9-7 (4-5 NESCAC)
Key Player: Senior attacker Joan O'Neill had 44 goals and 70 points in 2011 and led the NESCAC in points per game.
X-Factor: The draw. Senior Jenna Dannis (56) and junior Jenn Braillier (48) combined to help Bates lead the NESCAC in 2011.

18. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps

2011 Record: 16-3 (10-0 SCIAC)
Key Player: Madi Shove's 79 goals ranked 11th in Division III.
X-Factor: New coach Heather Semelmacher brings an impressive resume (Marist and New Paltz) to the West's top program.

19. Adrian

2011 Record: 16-5 (6-0 Midwest Conference)
Key Player: Rachel Johnson (89g) is top returning scorer in DIII.
X-Factor: New coach Rachel Cibulas returns to Adrian, where as an assistant coach she helped land school's best recruiting class.

20. Ithaca

2011 Record: 11-7 (6-2 Empire 8)
Key Player: Nicole Borisenok returns with team-leading 53 goals.
X-Factor: New Ithaca coach Shannon McHale previously led St. John Fisher to top-20 territory.

This article appears in the February issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription to LM.


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