Women's Lacrosse Splits a Pair in Openers
Issue   |   Tue, 03/12/2013 - 21:39

The Amherst Women’s Lacrosse team opened its season last weekend with a pair of NESCAC games against No 7. Colby and Bates, falling 10-7 to the Mules on Saturday but coming back for an exciting 9-8 victory against the Bobcats on Sunday afternoon. The Jeffs were ranked eighth in the first Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association poll heading into the weekend, showing a promising start to the season.

Priscilla Tyler ’15 led an experienced attack squad with eight goals, netting four on Saturday in the loss to Colby and another four on Sunday, including the game winner with three minutes left in regulation after the Jeffs came back from an 8-6 deficit midway through the second half. Senior captain Hilary Densen followed close behind with a three-goal, three-assist performance against Bates, in addition to her first goal of the season against Colby.

Captain Marta Randall ’13 added three goals and an assist over the weekend, while first-year Mia Haughton made her college debut with one goal and four assists.

Offense will be the key this season as Amherst returns a talented group looking to lead the team to its first NESCAC title and 11th NCAA tournament appearance, building off last year’s success which included a 13-5 overall record and the team’s first NCAA appearance since 2008. Leading the attack this year are tri-captains Densen, Randall and Wyatt Davis ’13, three of last season’s top five scorers. Randall finished last season ranked sixth in the NESCAC with 45 goals, earning her first-team All-Region honors. Densen led the team in assists, ranking seventh in the conference with 21 helpers. Davis also proved herself as a force on the field with 12 goals and 10 assists.

Elizabeth Ludlow ’14 will add depth to the seasoned attack after finishing fourth on the team with 20 goals last spring.

Sophomores Tyler and Sarah Spector will also make their mark coming off a solid rookie season, while first-year attackers Elizabeth Paul and Devin O’Connor will look to add to the offense’s depth and talent.

Juniors Alex Philie, Krista Zsitvay and Caroline Holliday will anchor the squad’s midfield this spring after a breakout season in 2012.

Philie returns as the team’s most decorated player, earning first-team All-NESCAC and All-Region selections and second team All-American honors last year after netting 29 goals and five assists. The junior also led the NESCAC with 74 draw controls and finished ninth with 25 caused turnovers.

Zsitvay earned the team’s most improved player award after notching 17 goals and tallying 20 draw controls, finishing second on the team behind Philie. Holliday also proved dangerous offensively with 10 goals and one assist. Classmate Annelies O’Dea will sit out this spring while recovering from off-season ACL surgery, a significant loss to the team’s offensive squad.

The juniors class will look to sophomores Heath Cockrell and Meghan Mills for help defensively this season. Mills started all 18 games in 2012, racking up nine points, 14 turnovers and 18 ground balls in an impressive rookie season.

Coach Christine Paradis will also look to Cockrell for defensive stability, while first-years Rachel Passarelli, Katie Paolano and Houghton will add depth to an already solid midfield squad.

Amherst’s defense enters the season in a rebuilding stage after losing first team All-American Meredith LaRose, as well as All-Region stars Claire Bennett and goalkeeper Lamia Harik to graduation. Led by this impressive senior trio, the Jeffs boasted the third-ranked defense in all of Division III, holding its opponents to an average of 6.44 goals per game.

Paradis is still experimenting with various combinations for her back line this spring, with sophomores Fiona Dearth, Kerry Fusco and Annah Jamison fighting for starting positions in what hopes to be a breakout season. The sophomores are bolstered by a solid group of first-year defenders, including Emy Kelty, Gina Lambiase, Meghan McDonough, Abigail Rose and Katie Reilly. The shifting defense will look towards midfielders for support on the back line, with Holliday, Mills, Zsitvay and Philie likely dropping back to help the defensive unit.

First-years goalies Christy Forrest and Katelyn Salerno will step in to fill the shoes of Harik this season, as each is already showing great promise in the net.

The Jeffs will need a strong effort from all three lines this season, with match-ups against four NESCAC teams in the IWCLA’s top eight and six in the top 20.

The team hopes to carry momentum from last year’s successful season, which ended in a heartbreaking one-goal loss to No. 4 College of New Jersey in the regional round of the NCAA tournament.

Amherst will travel to Bowdoin next Saturday and then down to Pennsylvania during Spring Break for non-conference contests against Swarthmore and Elizabethtown. Start time is set for 12 p.m. next weekend at Howard Ryan Field in Brunswick, Maine.