Jan. 31, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Only one team has ever won four consecutive titles in Patriot League women's lacrosse, but opposing coaches and sports information directors are predicting Navy to accomplish that feat after unanimously putting the Mids in first place in the sport's preseason poll announced on Thursday.
Navy claimed 72 points and all 12 first-place votes from the other six schools, as coaches and sports information directors were not allowed to vote for their own team. It is the second straight year that the Mids have been unanimously selected as the top team by their peers, and third consecutive first-place pick for the Mids overall. Navy went unbeaten in the Patriot League regular season last year before claiming its third consecutive Patriot League Tournament title. Only Lafayette (1995-98) has ever won four straight Patriot League titles, with those coming before the creation of the League Tournament.
Holy Cross, which finished as runner-up to the Mids last season, took second place in the poll with 55 points and two first-place votes. The next group of teams was closely bunched with Colgate (44), Lehigh (39), American (38) and Lafayette (34) ahead of Bucknell (12).
Navy senior attack Jasmine DePompeo was voted as the Patriot League Women's Lacrosse Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, as the two-time honoree of the award now receives the title in the preseason for the second year in a row. Colgate sophomore goalkeeper Jennie Berglin claimed the Patriot League Women's Lacrosse Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honor.
DePompeo and Berglin also headline the inaugural Women's Lacrosse Preseason All-Patriot League Team. DePompeo is on the attack along with fellow seniors Addie Godfrey (Lafayette), Kimberly Collins (American) and Taylor Zebrowski (Holy Cross) as well as Lehigh sophomore Carli Sukonik. The midfield includes seniors Emily Burton (American) and Julie McBrien (Lehigh), junior Ana White (Lafayette) and sophomores Laura Ryan (Holy Cross) and Jess Fellows (Navy). Navy senior Brijet Mall, Lafayette junior Rachel Martin and Colgate sophomore Jenna Frost make up the defense, with Navy senior Michelle Verbeeck along with Berglin as the goalkeepers.
Thirteen of the 15 players earned All-Patriot League status last year, with six that made the first team. Overall, 18 of the 24 All-League selections from last season will return to the field in 2013.
The Mids won last year's title with a dominant season, going 6-0 in the Patriot League before defeating American 14-7 in the semifinals and Holy Cross 18-11 in the championship of the League Tournament. Navy finished 18-3 overall, beating Oregon in an NCAA Play-In game and finishing at No. 19 in the deBeer Media Poll. The Mids are receiving votes in that poll entering the 2013 season, and will once again be led on offense by DePompeo. The 2012 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year had 45 goals and 47 assists for 92 points last season, leading the League in the latter two categories. Her senior classmate, Kathy Young, returns after scoring 58 goals and receiving first-team All-Patriot League honors last season. Fellows and sophomore Loren Generi, the 2012 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, come off outstanding freshmen campaigns that netted each second-team All-Patriot League honors. Mall leads the defense and Verbeeck hopes to build on her Patriot League-leading 8.15 goals against average and .484 save percentage from last season. The Mids return 11 letterwinners and nine starters for sixth-year Head Coach Cindy Timchal.
Holy Cross had a resurgent 2012 season, finishing 4-2 in Patriot League play and beating Colgate 13-12 in the semifinals of the League Tournament to play in its first championship contest since 2007. Three second-team All-Patriot League selections return to the field, as Zebrowski (36 goals, 11 assists) and Ryan (41 goals, 9 assists) led the team in points while Sarah Weber had an 11.50 goals against average in net. The Crusaders do lose Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Catherine Furman, but leading goal scorer Sara Hennessey (44 goals, 2 assists) is also among those returning as the Crusaders bring back 17 letterwinners and eight starters from last season.
Colgate is coming off yet another strong season, as the Raiders tied Holy Cross for second place at 4-2 in the Patriot League before falling to the Crusaders in the League Tournament semifinals. The Raiders will move forward without Courtney Miller, the 2012 Patriot League Midfielder of the Year who concluded her brilliant career in the top 10 in League history in points, goals, assists and draw controls. Defense should be a strength for the team, with Berglin earning first-team All-Patriot League honors last year while posting an 11.89 goals against average. Frost leads the defense as well after receiving second-team All-Patriot League honors last season, while Amanda O'Sullivan (31 goals, five assists) and Alison Flood (24 goals, three assists) are the leading returning goal-scorers.
After a run of five consecutive Patriot League Tournament appearances came to an end, Lehigh will look at get back on track behind Sukonik and McBrien. Each player earned second-team All-Patriot League status last season, with Sukonik leading the team with 41 goals in her freshman campaign and McBrien totaling 24 goals and 12 assists in her junior season. The Mountain Hawks will also welcome the return of junior goalkeeper Alexandra Fitzpatrick, who was limited to just three games last season after receiving first-team All-Patriot League status as a freshman.
American earned the fourth Patriot League Tournament berth by going 3-3 in League play last season, and will be led by a new head coach as Emma Wallace takes over on an interim basis. Collins and Burton will be expected to lead the way after earning first-team All-Patriot League honors last year. The duo shared team honors with 57 points apiece, with Burton totaling 46 goals and 11 assists and Collins netting 40 goals and 17 assists. Junior Emily Maher was a second-team All-Patriot League pick at midfield after recording 20 goals last season as the Eagles bring back seven starters overall.
Lafayette has made great strides under fifth-year Head Coach Alison Fisher. The Leopards posted their first winning overall record since 2002 with a 9-8 mark last season, and were just one game away from making their first Patriot League Tournament since 2004. To make the next step, the Leopards will rely on their trio of preseason All-Patriot League selections. Godfrey led the team with 59 goals and 68 points last season, while White totaled 36 goals and 20 assists for 56 points as each player received first-team All-Patriot League honors. White is also just 16 draw controls away from the Patriot League career record and was selected as the League's Breakthrough Player of the Year by Inside Lacrosse. Martin leads the defense after a second-team All-Patriot League honor last season. The top four and seven of the top eight scorers from last season return in 2013 for the Leopards.
Bucknell has improved its win total in each of the last two seasons, and aims to make the next step in Patriot League play with its top five scorers returning. Arriana Sajjad led the team with 38 goals and 51 points as a freshman, while Katelyn Miller received second-team All-Patriot League recognition in the midfield while putting up 35 goals and 12 assists. Madison Hurwitz (25 goals, 16 assists), Emily Kookogey (29 goals, 6 assists) and Lindsay Ferro (5 goals, 21 assists) complete the list of leading scorers coming back for the Bison in 2013.
The 2013 women's lacrosse season begins on Feb. 10 when Navy hosts Winthrop, with Patriot League play opening up on March 9. Four teams qualify for the 2013 Patriot League Tournament, which will be played at the site of the highest seed with the semifinals on April 26 and championship on April 28.
2013 Patriot League Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll
1. Navy, 72 points (12 first-place votes)
2. Holy Cross, 55 (2)
3. Colgate, 44
4. Lehigh, 39
5. American, 38
6. Lafayette, 34
7. Bucknell, 12
Patriot League Women's Lacrosse Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Jasmine DePompeo, Navy (Sr., A)
Patriot League Women's Lacrosse Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Jennie Berglin, Colgate (So., GK)
Preseason All-Patriot League Team
Attack: Kimberly Collins, American (Sr.); Jasmine DePompeo, Navy (Sr.); Addie Godfrey, Lafayette (Sr.); Carli Sukonik, Lehigh (So.); Taylor Zebrowski, Holy Cross (Sr.)
Midfield: Emily Burton, American (Sr.); Jess Fellows, Navy (So.); Julie McBrien, Lehigh (Sr.); Laura Ryan, Holy Cross (So.); Ana White, Lafayette (Jr.)
Defense: Jenna Frost, Colgate (So.); Brijet Mall, Navy (Sr.); Rachel Martin, Lafayette (Jr.)
Goalkeeper: Jennie Berglin, Colgate (So.); Michelle Verbeeck, Navy (Sr.)
Note: Two additional attack and one additional goalkeeper due to ties in the voting.