February 18, 2011

Rollins Women 2011 Preview

from press release

WINTER PARK, Fla. – After finishing 2010 with a mark of 9-5, the Rollins women's lacrosse team looks to put their hard work to the test as they prepare to open their 2011 campaign this Friday at Converse College. Letting their actions on the field speak for them this season, the Tars will strive to become a national contender once again and earn the program's first ever post season appearance.

"The entire team has been working extremely hard, and the ladies have adjusted well to the changes that we've made in preseason," says head coach Dennis short. "We're very excited about the results we've been getting at practice. The harder we've pushed them the more they've responded, and the results have been nothing but positive. We're seeing much better performance out of the team this year than we did last year, and feel that we're in a much better position entering into the regular season schedule."

Having jumped into the national spotlight in just their second year of play, the Tars have experienced unprecedented success in their short history. Short continues to develop an impressive program that exceeds expectations time and time again. With 14 returning letterwinners, including nine starters, from last year's squad, the Tars have plenty of veteran strength to guide the seven new faces that have joined this year's team.

"All of the freshmen are making a significant impact," Short explains. "We expect all of them to be major contributors this season, but it's nice to not have to rely heavily on freshmen for the first time in our program's history. We finally have plenty of upperclassmen to carry the load, but the incoming players will all see significant playing time. They've added substantial depth that we have not been able to have before."

Rollins returns four of their top five goal scorers this season, led by Marissa Giannerini who scored a team-best 49 goals, and tacked on nine assists in 2010. In just two years, Giannerini leads the program's all-time leaderboard with 107 goals.

Giannerini will return to the midfield along with Erica Pagliarulo, who finished her freshman campaign second on the team in goals scored with 39, and added 10 assists for 49 points. The Winchester, Mass. native was also second on the team in ground balls with 42, and came in a close second in draw controls with a total of 50 in her first season.

Senior Katy Tyszko will be expected to have another big season as the playmaker for the attacking unit. Tyszko currently sits second on the all-time leader board in assists with 70, and finished her junior campaign with 25 goals and 23 assists for 48 points in 2010. The Clermont, Fla. native is nine assists away from becoming the all-time leader in assists, and will be expected to close our her Rollins career on a high note.

Sarah Ann Showell will be expected to have another solid season on attack. In her first year, Showell finished third on the team in goals scored with 34, and added five assists for 39 points. Cat Kelley, Anna Townsend, and Sophie Townsend also return, and will be expected to contribute to the attacking line yet again this season. The trio combined for 33 goals and four assists in 2010, and will be goal-scoring threats yet again this season.

The coach staff is expecting newcomer Caroline Lamere to have a breakout season with the Tars. The freshman from Longwood, Fla. comes to Rollins as a 2009 and 2010 US Lacrosse First Team All-American, and will be looked to help make things happen around the arc.

The midfield unit will be stacked with plenty of speed this season as Tori Snow, Giannerini, Pagliarulo, and some new faces take to the field. Snow, who led the team in 2010 with 51 ground balls and 58 draw controls, will be expected to have another stellar season in her third year with the Tars.

Returning after two years away from Rollins is Courtney Bianculli, who led the team in its inaugural season in 2008 as she scored a team-high 36 goals. The Setauket, N.Y. native still holds single-game records in goals scored with eight, and most caused turnovers in a game with nine.

Short explains, "Courtney is a huge addition to the team again. Her attitude and intensity that she brings out onto the field is amazing. She will literally fall over and collapse before she quits, and that mental toughness is enormous for this team."

Rollins welcomes sophomore transfer Katie Palasz to the team, and expects big things out of the Granby, Mass. Native in all areas of the field. The sophomore midfielder played for New England College in 2010 where she was named The Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC) Rookie of the Year. After starting all 17 games for the Pilgrims, Palasz led the team in goals, assists, and overall points, scoring 46 goals, and notching 20 assists for 66 points. She also finished second on the team in ground balls with 53, as well as second in draw controls with 43, and was also named to the TCCC All-Honorable Mention Team.

"Katie is a significant presence out on the field and we're very excited to have her as a member of the Tars," says Short. "She has amazing speed and brings a certain toughness onto the field that helps elevate everyone on the team to the next level. She's a fantastic addition, and we're expecting big things out of her this season."

The entire midfield group has great speed, agility, and game sense, and will be expected to join the attack as threats around the twelve meter. Tricia Grant, Ginevra Czech and Kelly Thayer will also be key members of the midfield unit and will see significant playing time as they provide essential depth and speed in the midfield.

Defensively, the Tars will be headed up by returning members Suzanne Gainey, Lacy Goodwyn, Steph Wiedenhofer. Annie Koeblitz and freshman Ariana Louder will see significant time on defense, as well. The defensive squad has continuously worked incredibly hard in the preseason, and Coach Short is eager to see what they can do against tough opponents in the upcoming weeks.

Rollins welcomes two new faces between the posts this season with the addition of goalies Elyse De Lisle and Rachael Kokomoor. De Lisle, a local product from Windermere, comes to Rollins after earning US Lacrosse High School All-American honors in 2010, and has already made a dramatic impact on the field. Kokomoor will compete for time in goal, and gives the team depth within the position for the first time in program history.

"Both Elyse and Rachael are huge additions to the team," adds Short. "Elyse is doing an excellent job stopping the ball, and Rachael has given us strength and depth in the position that we've never had before. Both players have helped elevate the level of play for the entire team, and we're really looking forward to seeing what they can help us achieve this season."

With 17 regular season games and three challenging scrimmages on the slate, the Tars have an eventful season ahead of them. Rollins will take on 15 South Region opponents, with their two North Region adversaries providing some necessary complexity that will test the Tars on all levels.

Five of their opponents are listed in the IWLCA Division II Preseason Poll, with four of those squads sitting in the top-five. Rollins received votes on this season's preseason poll, and will strive to climb the ladder as the season progresses.

"We have the best schedule yet," Short says. "It's more spread out and we now have plenty of South Region games, which has the potential to place us in the best position possible for a post-season appearance. The two north region games are two top five teams, and we have three very important scrimmages that will be very challenging."

The Tars kick off their season on the road, with two quick back-to-back contests. Rollins opens their season at Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C. on February 18, and then heads to Laurinburg, N.C. to match up against the St. Andrews Presbyterian Knights on Saturday, February 19.

Rollins returns to kick off their home opener in big fashion, squaring off against defending national champion and preseason favorite Adelphi University on Tuesday, February 22, before they host Notre Dame of Ohio on February 28.

The Tars take to the road for their next two games, making another trek to North Carolina to take on Pfeiffer University and Queens University of Charlotte on March 4 and 6, respectively. After their short stint away, Rollins returns to Winter Park for a four game home stand where they will match up against Indiana University of Pennsylvania, preseason No. 7 Stonehill College, Erskine College, and conclude it with a scrimmage against future DII institution Lindenwood University.

Following their stint at home, the Tars travel to preseason No. 3 Lock Haven for a showdown on April 1, and then take on Edinboro University in a neutral site contest at Lock Haven's facilities on April 3. Rollins will make the short jaunt to Millersville, Pa. to take on the Millersville University Marauders on April 4 to conclude their road trip.

Rollins returns to wrap up their home campaign in mid-April, and hosts Regis University on Friday, April 15, before closing out their home slate against Adams State College on Sunday, April 17.

The Tars then travel up to preseason No. 4 West Chester University for an April 23 showdown, followed by a week away from the game field during finals before their final two contests of the regular season.

Rollins' second-to-last game will be at first-year program Lenoir-Rhyne University on Wednesday, May 4, and will prepare the Tars for one of their biggest games of the season as they take on preseason No. 5 Limestone in their final regular season battle on Saturday, May 7.

The Tars look to let their actions speak louder than their words in 2011, and look to become a quiet threat in the Division II Top Ten. With a solid core of returning players, and fresh talent that provides the team with the most depth its ever had, the Tars are excited to show the lacrosse community just what they can do.

"This year we're just focused on letting our play on the field speak for us," Short concludes. "We have high aspirations and expectations, and we certainly feel that we are one of the elite teams in Division II. We plan on proving that this year on the field."

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