Women's Lacrosse Opens Season On Saturday
By ODU Athletics
Feb. 27, 2003
NORFOLK, VA -- The 2003 version of the Old Dominion women's lacrosse team will take to the turf for the first time this season when they host American at Foreman Field on Saturday at noon. The Lady Monarchs, ranked 17th in the Preaseason IWLCA Poll, welcome back fifteen letterwinners and seven starters from last year's school record 13-win team.
Although Old Dominion losses several key members of last year's squad who helped the Lady Monarchs reach new heights, a core group of veterans return, among them, the nation's leader in points per game, two ranked nationally in scoring, and one of the top draw control specialists in the conference. Add 11 highly talented newcomers into the mix and the Lady Monarchs are looking to capture their first CAA title since 1995 and make a run in the NCAA Tournament. Although the Lady Monarchs will miss the leadership and scoring prowess of Jen Heister to graduation, Old Dominion returns nearly 75 percent of last season's total offense including six of their seven top scorers from last season, including the nation's leader in points per game. In 2002, the Lady Monarchs obliterated the single season scoring record by nearly 40 goals.
Junior Suzanne Wosczyna (Phoenixville, PA), the Division I leader in points per game, looks to pick up right where she left off a year ago. Wosczyna already holds the single season and career records in assists and is poised to become the school's all-time leading scorer this season. She collected 103 points last season on 56 goals and 47 assists, becoming just the 13th Division I player to accomplish that feat and if she can continue her torrid scoring pace, could quite possibly become just the third player to have back-to-back 100 point years.
The attack unit also returns tri-captain senior Danielle Hensil (Havertown, PA), who along with Wosczyna, was ranked nationally in scoring. Hensil was the only Lady Monarch last season to score in every game and led the squad with a six game winning goals. Combining the scoring powers of both Hensil and Wosczyna will make the Lady Monarchs one of the toughest teams to stop offensively in the conference.
Junior Janine Rodriguez (Davidsonville, MD) has improved each season she has stepped onto the field and 2003 looks to be no exception. Rodriquez's number leaped last season with 24 goals and six assists and returns as the team's third leading scorer.
The midfield losses Kendra Finger and Jennifer Shaw, but senior tri-captain Marlaine Smith (Gaithersburg, MD) is ready to lead her unit. Smith will once again serve as the draw control specialist, an area she excelled in last year. She concluded last season ranked third in the conference and 18th in the country in draws controls. Controlling the draw, however, is just one of Smith's skills that Lady Monarchs will rely upon. Smith can also help jump start the offense, as made evident by her 18 goals and seven assists last season, and help on the transition, as she did last season with 35 groundballs.
Joining Smith in the midfield will be key members junior Molly Coane (Bay Shore, NY) and sophomore Melody Shotwell (Fairfax Station, VA). Coane made a successful transition into the starting line-up in 2002 helping the Lady Monarchs control both ends of the field. On offense, she scored four goals and four assists, while defensively she scooped up eight groundballs and caused three turnovers. Shotwell will look to make a jump to the starting line-up after serving as the Lady Monarchs' top reserve. In her first collegiate season, Shotwell turned in impressive performances on both ends of the field, including registering 10 points on seven goals and three assists.
Other midfielders, sophomore Annie Tamburello (Va. Beach, VA) and junior Kelly Kanara (Kennett Square, PA), who have gained valuable playing experience, will be asked to step up their roles this season.
Senior tri-captain Kimberly Calkin (Winter Springs, FL) will anchor the Lady Monarchs' defensive efforts in 2003. Old Dominion losses Brooke Thomas and Stephanie Smoot to graduation, but Calkin has been a mainstay on the defense for the last two season helping keep the Old Dominion opposition at bay. Calkin was among the leaders in caused turnovers with 11 last season.
Junior Kelly Jefferys (Horseheads, NY) returns as a veteran player on the defensive side of the field and should continue to be an impact. A year ago, she was one of the top Lady Monarchs in caused turnovers with 12 and also collected 18 groundballs and 11 draw controls. Redshirt junior Erin Lindsey (Audubon, PA) also is anxiously awaiting to return to the field. Lindsey sat on the sidelines with an injury last season and is ready to make her impact felt this season. Lindsey was a member of the starting line-up for two seasons until her injury and in all has 28 groundballs.
Sophomores Valerie Gooch (Charlottesville, VA), Cassandra Conner (Crozet, VA), and Regan Miller (Columbia, MD) will also comprise the Old Dominion defensive unit. Each received valuable playing last season and will parlay it into the 2003 campaign.
American, also playing in their 2003 season opener, only lost three players to graduation from last season's regular season co-championship squad. The Eagles finished last year with a 10-8 overall record and 5-1 mark in the Patriot League, their first season in the conference.
The game will begin at noon on Saturday. Admission to the event is free.