Women's Lacrosse Opens 2005 Campaign Wednesday

March 01, 2005
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

March 1, 2005

NORFOLK, Va. -- The Old Dominion women's lacrosse team starts off the 2005 season this week hosting #7 Maryland on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. and American on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.. Stahl Stahl, one of the most decorated women's lacrosse coaches in history, begins her 15th year at the helm of the Old Dominion program looking to return the Lady Monarchs back into the spotlight.

Although the Lady Monarchs graduated five student-athletes from last year's squad, among them all-time leading scorer and three-time All-American Suzanne Wosczyna, Stahl has a number of veterans, underclassmen, and rookies to help Old Dominion rise in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and national standings.

Two seniors will be looked up for guidance and leadership on this year's team in Valerie Gooch and Cassandra Conner, who will anchor the ODU defense, while offensive threat Melody Shotwell will redshirt the upcoming season.

Gooch and Conner will be vital in helping bolster the Lady Monarch defense. Last season, Old Dominion gave up 211 goals, a number that these two Lady Monarchs will need reduce in the upcoming season. However, Gooch and Conner both know what its takes to keep the opposition away from the net as they helped hold 18 opponents to single digit scoring over the last three years. Gooch finished last year third in groundballs, while Conner was fourth in the caused turnover category.

Also aiding the ODU defense will be junior Sarah Wosczyna. Wosczyna cracked the starting line-up as a freshman and appeared in all 16 games last season as a sophomore. She will be looking to add to her defensive statistics after registering 17 groundballs and six caused turnovers in 2004.

With a year under their belts, several of last year's rookies should have a significant impact on the success of this year's team. Two newcomers made an immediate impact in midfielders Caroline Jacobs and Katie Veneziale. Both took on the challenges of starting positions in their first year in a Lady Monarch uniform and put them names on top of several statistical categories. Jacobs was the leader on the in team in groundballs with 50 while Veneziale took on the role of draw control specialist and led the squad with a second-best 35 controlled. Additionally, Jacobs will return at the team's leading scorer after registering 16 goals and passing off seven assists.

Another of last year's rookie should help the fired power on the offense along with Shotwell. Ashley Stanwick appeared in every game and enters 2005 as the Lady Monarchs' second leading returning scorer after netting 14 goals and collecting two assists in her first collegiate season.

In goal, Michelle Gannon suits up for her third season having played all but six minutes over the course of the last two seasons. Gannon's numbers last year included 142 saves and a 13.08 goals against average.

The schedule as is tradition incorporates a tough non-conference slate along with the always tough CAA calendar. National powerhouses Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina grace the non-conference portion of the schedule along with UMBC, American, Richmond, Temple, and Rutgers, teams that are capable of being ranked throughout this season. Two-time defending CAA Tournament champion, James Madison, will be one of six preseason ranked teams that Old Dominion will face during the conference season.

The Terps, this weekend's opponent and ranked seventh in the country according to the latest IWLCA Poll, are looking to rebound after its season-opening 10-7 loss to No. 4 Duke at home. Maryland rallied from a 7-1 halftime deficit, but the Blue Devils managed to hold on for the victory.