September 16, 2013

Five Women's Fall Contests to Watch

by Clare Lochary | | Twitter

Harvard and Ohio State both have key tilts this fall after taking each other on at last year's Navy fall event.
©John Strohsacker/

It's a wonderful time of year for college lacrosse afficionados, as teams are getting to practice for the first time and the road to the 2014 season begins on campuses across the country. Freshmen get their first look in the uniforms they'll wear for the next four seasons, sophomores and juniors make their cases to earn more time in the spring, and everybody shakes off the cobwebs.

For fans and writers, the next few weeks are a great time to scope out some great action in a less formal setting, where the final score doesn't matter nearly as much as getting some work in, seeing how players work with each other and which goalie has the inside track for the starting gig.

Here at Lacrosse Magazine, we'll be rolling out our extensive fall ball "30 in 30" package starting next week, looking at the storylines that matter across the spectrum of men's and women's lacrosse — from the marquee Division I programs to the small colleges. (Check out last year's series for an idea of what to expect.)

For now, let's look at some key contests over the next few weeks. We picked a five women's games/events worth watching in September and October. 

This isn't an exhaustive list, so if you've got one you think deserves inclusion, let us know in the comments.

September 29 Indianapolis, Ind.

The Tudor Park School will host a trio of Midwestern Division I teams – Northwestern, Notre Dame and Ohio State. The Wildcats will need to craft a new offense this season, with the graduation of four of their top five scorers. Only attacker senior Alyssa Leonard is back this season, so there is a lot of opportunity for true freshmen Lydia Cassada and Jasmine Docal and redshirt freshmen Maggie Fobare and Hadley Brooke.
Notre Dame’s freshman class is headlined by former U19 start Cortney Fortunato, but she’s one of 10 rookies from eight different states playing for the Irish.

Oct. 6 Westwood, Mass.

Boston College versus Dartmouth will be a rematch of a 2013 NCAA first-round tournament game. The Big Green prevailed, 11-8, in that game, led by then-freshman Jaclyn Leto (4g, 1a). That’s a good sign for Dartmouth, which lost leading scorer Hana Bowers to graduation. The biggest shake-up was on the sidelines, though. With 22 years at Dartmouth, Amy Patton is one of the longest-tenured coaches in the NCAA, but she has two new assistants this year: Tracy Coyne, most recently of Division III Washington & Jefferson and formerly head coach at Notre Dame, and Jess Drummond, a recent Oregon grad and former all-MPSF midfielder.

Boston College will be looking to build on last year’s success, having graduated no starters. Redshirt senior (and 2013 team captain) Jessie Coffield will return to play after missing last season with an injury.

Oct. 12 Annapolis, Md.

The U.S. women’s national team takes the field for the first time since winning gold in Oshawa this summer. Since then, three veterans – attacker Sarah Albrecht, goalie Megan Huether and defender Gina Oliver – have officially retired from international play. Team USA will face 2013 Patriot League champ Navy and Georgetown, an NCAA tournament team last season at Navy on Saturday.

Oct. 20 Philadelphia, Pa.

Penn hosts Albany, Georgetown, and Vanderbilt in its annual fall ball tournament. The Commodores have the most work to do, looking to rebound from a miserable 2-15 season. Three out of the top four scorers graduated, so there’s room for new blood on attack alongside Mallory Schonk (25g, 10a), who was the No. 2 scorer as a freshman. The goalie spot is up for grabs too. Will it go to junior reserve Maddie Krantz, who appeared sparingly last season, or freshman Callahan Kent, a Thayer (Mass.) School alum who is the daughter of Boston College assistant (and former Colby College All-American) Jen Kent?

Oct. 26 Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Boston College hosts three NCAA tournament teams (UConn, UMass and Stony Brook), plus crosstown rival Boston University. The Huskies had a breakout 2013 season, and will be looking to build upon recent success. Big East Midfielder of the Year Lauren Kahn returns, but with all eyes on her, UConn may need to diversify its offense. Midfielders Alexandra Crofts and Aly Fazio cracked the starting line-up as freshmen last season, and may be the ones to step up.

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