Jan. 24, 2005
There's a new coach and a new philosophy as the Lehigh Mountain Hawks get set to open the 2005 lacrosse season. Liz Brode Ota returns to her alma mater looking to bring stability to a program that went 5-10 a year ago and has had four head coaches in four years. Ota's team returns seven starters from a year ago and she expects a talented group of freshmen to make some immediate contributions. The first year coach hopes to bring a better conditioned and better prepared team to the turf at the Ulrich Sports Complex.
"We are working to improve fitness and stick work and we will focus a great deal on strategy and planning for each competition," Ota said.
Lehigh's attack should be solid as the Mountain Hawks return five of the top eight scorers from a year ago. Leading the way is Kellan Van Hoosen who netted 14 goals a year ago. She will get help up front from sophomore Amy Chamberlain who started every game as a freshman and tallied double digits in goals. Senior Jen Fleming and sophomore Elaine King also figure to contribute to the Mountain Hawks attack.
In the midfield the Mountain Hawks return first team All-Patriot League performer Barrie Cominsky. The senior captain tied for the team lead with 25 goals in 2004 and was second on the team with 35 points. Cominsky led the Mountain Hawks scooping up 39 ground balls last season; she will be counted upon to contribute on both the offensive and defensive ends. Joining Cominsky in the midfield is fellow senior Sarah Starsoneck, a 17 goal scorer a year ago who led the Mountain Hawks with two game winning tallies. Sophomore Vienna Pharaon is also expected to contribute as will a young, talented freshmen corps that includes Christine Smith, Libby Gill and Kara Chalanick.
Senior Co-Captain Kristen Sherry will be counted upon to anchor the defense. Sherry has started every game the last two seasons, and has been extremely effective on the defensive end for Lehigh. Joining her on the backline is junior Eileen Miller. Last season Miller saw action in every game, picking up 25 ground balls on the season. She will be counted upon to solidify the Lehigh defense in 2005.
In the goal cage the Mountain Hawks are solid with two-year starter Kyle Begina. The junior brings a .507 save percentage to the table and has shown the ability to be one of the top netminders in the Patriot League. Freshman Brittany Besler is expected to contribute as the backup goaltender.
Ota admits the Mountain Hawks are in somewhat of a rebuilding phase but she and her staff are working hard to enhance the program and return Lehigh lacrosse to the upper echelon of the Patriot League
"With the coaching changes over the past few years, the program has not been able to grow and gain momentum," Ota says. "I am hoping that with a consistent coaching staff and solid recruiting that we will improve our national ranking and our status in the patriot league."