March 10, 2011

NCAA Division III Women's Lacrosse Notebook: Future Is Now for Washington College

by Mark Macyk |

Sophomore Corinne Ziccardi, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Rowan, is one of several young players responsible for Washington College's 4-0 start -- its best since 2003.

The Washington College women's lacrosse team put together its best season in recent memory last year, going 8-7 and placing seventh in the Centennial Conference. The Shorewomen are only three games into the 2011 campaign, but the future looks even better.

Washington outlasted local rival St. Mary's, 12-10, and Rowan, 10-9, last week before taking care of Goucher, 19-10, on Wednesday to improve to 4-0 -- WAC's best start since 2003.

The wins over St. Mary's and Rowan, head coach Julika Blankenship said, marked the first time the team has beaten either school in her six years associated with the program.

Saturday against Rowan, the Shorewomen trailed 9-7 with nine minutes remaining, but forced overtime after senior Sarah Cannon found junior Rachel Bartee with 1:25 remaining in regulation. After two scoreless overtimes, sophomore Corinne Ziccardi scored off the opening draw in sudden death to win it.

The future was present for WAC, which saw three underclassmen step up in key situations.

Freshman Chelsea Spector won the draw at the start of sudden death and possessed it until Ziccardi got clear for the game-winner.

Before that, Rowan had a chance to win with two seconds left in regulation, but freshman Kathleen Maleski got a stick on Caitlin Ravel's free position shot. Sophomore goalie Stephanie Seibert halted another Rowan chance in OT, stopping Marissa Micciche's free position shot with 21 seconds remaining.

WAC had not trailed since a 1-0 deficit in the first game of the season.

"I was nervous to see how they handled it," Blankenship said. "These are the things that are really going to help as we progress... I have a feeling we are going to see a lot of close games where every possession matters. Hopefully, one-goal game, two minutes left, we'll have some experience to draw on."

Impact freshmen are nothing new at Washington College. Most of the juniors on the team started as freshmen. Cannon is the team's only senior.

"The juniors and seniors have really impressed me with the way they've been so dedicated to the improvements we want to make," Blankenship said. "We've put a lot of new things in. For them to respond has been great. It's because of them that our freshman class has been so good."

Blankenship hopes the improvement will lead to a trip to the Centennial Conference tournament. The top five teams in the league, which includes Gettysburg and Franklin and Marshall, make the tournament.

New-look F&M starts quick

Franklin and Marshall provided an early glimpse at how tough the Centennial Conference will be, defeating No. 11 Washington and Lee, 11-8, in the season opener Saturday. The No. 3-ranked Diplomats then defeated Rowan, 13-10, on Wednesday to improve to 2-0.

The Dips have no seniors, but got two goals each from juniors Erin Dunne, Lauren Ehrhardt, Katie Delaney and freshman Caroline Krohn. The Diplomats opened the game on a 5-0 run.

Despite the win F&M dropped into a tie for the No. 3 ranking with TCNJ in the IWLCA Division III poll. F&M will get a shot at TCNJ on April 15.

Jaeger on Tewaaraton ton watch list; TCNJ freshmen step up

Lacrosse Magazine's preseason player of the year, Ali Jaeger, was named to the 2011 Tewaaraton Award watch list Tuesday, but it was TCNJ's freshmen who made the most noise in the Lions' season-opening 21-4 rout of Frostburg State.

The Class of 2014 combined for nine goals, with Lauren Pigott (three goals and two assists) leading the charge. Junior Leigh Mitchell (two goals, four assists) led all players with six points. Jaeger, one of only two D-III women on the watch list, had three goals and two assists.

Defending NCAA champion Salisbury defeated Frostburg by the exact same score last week. TCNJ plays at Keane on Friday, before hosting No. 6 Cortland on Sunday.

Hamilton's Bray on Tewaaraton watch too

No. 2 Hamilton, the 2010 NCAA runner-up, hasn't played a game yet but scored a big win with senior midfielder Sarah Bray's recognition on the Tewaaraton Award watch list.

Bray had a school-record 47 assists last season and finished with 76 points, 70 ground balls and 40 caused turnovers. The Continentals open the 2011 campaign against No. 5 Gettysburg on March 16, in Kissimmee, Fla.

Captains in uncharted waters

Christopher Newport defeated Lynchburg 14-11 on Saturday, giving the Captains the first 4-0 start in program history. The early-season run has included big wins over USA South Atlantic opponents, 22-2 at LaGrange and 22-0 at Agnes Scott, and an 18-17 victory over Adrian, which just pushed defending NCAA champion Salisbury to the brink.

The four-time defending USA South Atlantic champs have been led by seniors Meghan Harkey (11 goals, 18 assists) and Kaitlin Quigley (16 goals, nine assists), sophomore Lauren King (11 goals three assists) and freshman Hannah Wilkerson (31 saves).

The Captains will look to stay on course Saturday at home against Greensboro.

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