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SEASON PREVIEW: Women's Lacrosse Kicks off 2008 Season On Saturday

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: February 29, 2008
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Feb. 29, 2008

NORFOLK, Va. -- The Lady Monarchs women's lacrosse team kicks off the 2008 season this Saturday at American University with start time set for 1:00 pm. The team will hit the field in 2008 looking for a return trip to the postseason for the first time since the 2002-2003 seasons with Sue Stahl at the helm.

The Lady Monarchs returned to the postseason a year ago for the first time since 2003 in a season that ranked third among the nation's best turnarounds, according to Lax.com. In 2008, ODU will work to continue to improve under 2007 CAA Coach of the Year Sue Stahl for a return trip to the CAA Tournament. Returning 19 letter winners and six starters has the Lady Monarchs pointed in the right direction as the team will face another tough schedule this season.

Old Dominion lost significant offensive production from All-CAA honorees Caroline Jacobs and Katie Veneziale, the top two scorers from a year ago. Despite the losses though, the team is still deep up front and does return its next three high-scorers in Kelly Kimener, Jessica Noone and Ashley Kellogg. The trio poured in 63 goals and 18 assists last year and will be the go-to scorers for the Lady Monarchs this year.

Kimener, a senior, could push her way into the Top 10 All-Time in ODU goal scoring this season as she has been among the team leaders throughout her career. She has started all 34 games played in her career and has tallied 62 career goals and 13 career assists. Noone, a junior from Manassas, Virginia, will help Kimener up top as well as playing in the midfield. Noone, who moved into a starting role last year, had 20 goals a year ago and also grabbed 30 groundballs while also starting all 15 games in the season. Kellogg, a freshman standout named to the CAA All-Rookie team, scored 18 goals and added two assists as she started all 15 games for the Lady Monarchs. The roles for all three will increase dramatically this season, as they will be asked to become premiere scorers.

Returning starter on attack senior Kaelyn Schival will also be an impact player on offense, as she scored five goals a year ago. Fellow senior Sigrid Paulus should have an opportunity to make an impact with more playing time this season, as she has been a quality reserve for the Lady Monarchs throughout her career. Also vying for time on the field and impact on the offense will be sophomores Nicole McMahon and Jessica Capra as well as newcomers Clara Flanagan, Tracy Reed and Taylor Ketcham.

In the midfield, ODU will be very young but eager to build upon last year's success. With the graduation of Veneziale, ODU lost one of the nation's best on the draw. Kellogg is a returning starter and Noone will slide back at times for Coach Stahl, but the Lady Monarchs will ask for solid help from younger players to fill in the rest of the midfield. Junior Brittany Washko played in seven games a year ago as a reserve and will have an opportunity to see more playing time as will sophomores Katherine Bruno and Jessica Capra, both of whom played in three games in 2007.

Newcomers to the midfield include former ODU Women's Soccer standout Saratu Dodo, playing in her first year of collegiate lacrosse. She will be joined by a trio of rookies listed as potential midfielders: Flanagan, Ketcham, and Brienna Faust.

ODU should be strong on defense, returning starter Lindsey Belle, as well top reserve Erica Erb. The pair of juniors were key to a defense in 2007 that allowed the lowest goals against average since 2002. Belle, the veteran of the backfield, started all 15 games and picked up 24 ground balls, caused 13 turnovers and grabbed 12 draw controls. Erb played in all but one game and added four groundballs, two draw controls and four caused turnovers. The line-up for ODU's defense is deep as it includes reservists like senior Erica Peterson and juniors Jordan McKeon and Hannah Barber, who can be expected to provide quality minutes for Old Dominion. Newcomer Brittany Burns was an All-Region athlete in high school and could contribute to the defense immediately.

Between the pipes, ODU will lean on senior Sara Larson, the starting netminder who took over at goal last year as a junior. Larson played all but 30:20 in goal last season, when freshman D'Ana Goodfellow stepped in before being sidelined with an injury. The pair is joined on the roster by rookie Sarah Geary for the most depth at GK that ODU has seen in some time. Larson was the final line of defense that held six ODU opponents to single digit scoring in 2007 and allowed 55 fewer goals than the year before. She stopped 148 shots on goal, the most since Michelle Gannon in 2003 and the second highest total in 10 years. Goodfellow saw action in two games gaining some experience from a year ago and was her teams MVP in high school; Geary was a High School All-American and will provide Old Dominion with more options.

After facing seven nationally ranked teams a year ago, including three among the top ten in the nation, ODU continues to face top-tier competition. They're slated to face eight teams that are at least receiving votes in the national polls. The schedule this year includes 2007 national runner-up Virginia, NCAA quarterfinalist North Carolina, BIG EAST semi-finalist Rutgers, and CAA Champion Hofstra. The CAA continues to improve as four conference foes are receiving votes in the national top twenty.

For the first time in four seasons, the Lady Monarchs will be trying to reach the playoffs for a consecutive season. After her fourth Coach of the Year honor, Stahl will push for success from the veteran leadership on both ends of the field while continuing to draw out the potential from her younger players.

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