February 18, 2011

Lehigh Looks to Build on Banner Season

from press release

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh women's lacrosse team opens the 2011 season on Saturday against defending MAAC Champion Marist at 1 p.m. in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The Mountain Hawks look to ride the momentum from a memorable 2010 season which saw them win the Patriot League Regular Season Title and finish with a stellar 14-4 record.

Marist marks the first of two defending NCAA Tournament teams Lehigh will face this season, the other being Navy. The Mountain Hawks play two nationally ranked squads as well - Florida and Penn State.

Lehigh, who advanced to the Patriot League Championship Game a year ago, returns 11 of 12 starters and all six of its All-Patriot League performers. Among that group is WomensLacrosse.com Second Team All-American Lauren Dykstra and First Team All-Patriot League honoree Allison Thomas. The two senior co-captains anchor the team's midfield unit.

The Mountain Hawks return a plethora of experience in 2011. Dykstra led the team with 62 points a year ago, while Thomas was tied for second with 54. Dykstra has already enjoyed one of the most storied careers in program history; she stands as the nation's active career ground ball leader (174), while she is second in career goals (185), only one behind the leader.

Anchoring the attack is First Team All-Patriot League player Kelly Draper and sophomore Megan Kelly, who both return following solid 2010 campaigns. Draper, who was tied with Thomas for third on the team in scoring last year with 54 points, will be looked upon to be a leader at the position. Kelly is coming off a solid freshman campaign where she scored 27 goals for the Mountain Hawks.

Leading the defense will be First Team All-Patriot League defender Leigh Ann Torvicia, Second Team All Patriot League honoree Kenzie Dambach, along with experienced senior Kindall Healy. As a freshman, Torvicia lead the Mountain Hawks with 17 caused turnovers and finished second on the team with 45 ground balls. Healy will be counted on to provide senior leadership and experience on the defensive end.

The defending MAAC Champions, the Red Foxes are fresh off their first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history where they lost to eventual National Champion Maryland in the first round. Marist lost five players from last year's squad, but do return three All-Conference players, including Offensive Player of the Year Kelly Condon. The Red Foxes also return All-Conference midfielder Jori Procaccini and defender Erin Betsch. Graduated for the Red Foxes are MAAC Tournament MVP Erin Wilson and All-Conference performers Lauren Rinefierd, Lauren Ciccarello and Morgan Dillon.

This is the third time that the Mountain Hawks and Red Foxes have squared off against each other, with the teams splitting the first two. Marist got the best of the Mountain Hawks last year, winning 8-6. That marked Lehigh's second loss of the season after beginning 8-0. Lehigh won the first-ever matchup, 17-7, in 2008.

The Mountain Hawk return home for their first home game of the season, against Delaware on Feb. 26. Gametime is set for 1 p.m. at the Ulrich Sports Complex.

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