Feb. 14, 2014
Easton, Pa. – The 2014 Lafayette women’s lacrosse team, led by their five seniors, look to make back-to-back appearances in the Patriot League Tournament. Head coach Alison Fisher, in her sixth season with the Leopards, is looking to improve on last season’s 9-9 mark. The Maroon and White will open the season on Sunday at Marist.
“With the graduation of eight seniors in 2013 who all contributed consistently over their four years the 2014 team will certainly have a different look this spring,” Coach Fisher said. “We have an incredibly strong group of returners led by our five seniors who all started last year and one of the best freshmen classes we have had in my time here.”
“We’ll certainly be young but this group has good chemistry and there are a lot of different people contributing. We’re going to be able to play several different systems that will highlight different people’s strengths and I’m confident we will match up well with all the teams on our schedule.”
With the additions of Boston University and Loyola, the Patriot League Tournament has been expanded to six teams, and the Leopards hope to be one of them at the end of April.
“The Patriot League is now an incredibly competitive conference and we are very excited about the addition of BU and Loyola, two teams we have not traditionally played,” coach Fisher continued. “They certainly pose a new challenge but they also bring great credibility to the league. The regular season is going to be tougher this spring and we can’t take anyone for granted. We need to look at each contest as an opportunity to get better.”
“As a founding member of this conference and the owner of 10 Patriot League Titles we’re certainly not looking to hand our spot in the post season over to anybody. Our goal is to be in the top six at the end of April and then attempt to take things one step further than we did in 2013 and get ourselves into that championship game on April 27th.”
The Leopards graduated five attackers at the conclusion of the 2013 season, led by a pair of four-year starts, Addie Godfrey and Jessica Rothstein. A young group of attackers will look to fill the void left by last year’s team leader in goals, Godfrey.
“With the graduation of five attackers in the class of 2013, we have definitely had to recreate ourselves offensively” Coach Fisher said.
Junior Katie Elander and sophomores Charlotte Avallone and Melissa Galione are key returners for the Leopards. Elander saw action in five games, tallying a goal last season. Avallone missed last season with an injury and Galione, picked up an assist in four contests. Freshman Alexis Thompson will see time in the attack this season.
The Leopards have a solid crop of attackers who will all be vying for time on the attacking end. Sophomore Brooke Callahan and freshmen Devin Lawler, Caroline Ponsi and Ashley Tedesco will look to make a splash this season. Sophomore Kristen Mignon and junior Sarah Malone, both coming off of injuries in 2013, will also push for playing time.
In the midfield, senior captains Ana White and Laura Kleiber will lead the Leopards, along with sophomore Carlianne McCabe. The trio contributed 49 percent of the team’s points last season.
“Our midfield will be one of our greatest strengths with the leadership of Ana and Laura,” Fisher said, “We also have four outstanding freshmen who will play significant minutes this spring.”
White, the Patriot League Midfielder of the Year last season, is the Leopards leading returning in points (68) and assists (22), while Kleiber was the third leading scorer last campaign, netting 37 goals. McCabe made an instant impact during her rookie season, tallying 15 goals.
Freshmen Kirsten Wilhelmsen, Amanda Case, Charlotte Rath and Maggie Carver will all make significant contributions in 2014. With a mixture of youth and experience, the Leopards will look for big things from their midfielders this year.
Senior captain Rachel Martin, an All-Patriot League Preseason Team selection, will lead the backline, while senior Lindsay Yang and sophomore Laura Rowan also return from last season’s squad. Martin was second on the team with 30 ground balls and 15 caused turnovers in 2013. Yang and Rowan combined for 37 ground balls and each caused seven turnovers.
A pair of juniors, Shannon Zoldy and Taylor McGinnis will contribute to the defense in the spring. Zoldy saw action in 11 games last season, while Taylor McGinnis is ahead of schedule in returning from a broken ankle she had surgically repaired during the fall.
Sophomore Casey Sullivan has earned a spot in the rotation and will play a significant amount for the Leopards. Freshman Christine Besselman adds depth in the Leopards defense.
Meghan Curtin returns for her senior campaign after drawing 13 starts last season. Curtin led the Leopards with six wins and 77 saves in 2013.
“Meg has made significant improvements since last year,” Fisher said, “she is confident in her direction and in her play both inside and outside of the crease. Our goalie play needs to be strength this spring for us to be successful.”
The Leopards will begin the 2014 campaign with four road games before opening the home season on March 1st against Binghamton. Lafayette will open Patriot League play at Navy on March 8th before hosting newcomer Loyola on the 15th. The Patriot League tournament is slated for April 22-27.