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Women’s college preview: St. Joe’s has high expectations

Tuesday, 28th January 2014

Categories College, Girl's/Women's  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/28/14
From Press Release

With the return of 22 letterwinners from a 2013 team that went .500 for the first time since 2009, expectations are high for the 2014 Saint Joseph’s women’s lacrosse program. Last season, SJU tallied eight overall wins and three Atlantic 10 wins – the most in both categories since 2009 – and proved that it was a force in conference play. Although the Hawks graduated four key players, head coach Denise Roessler holds high expectations of her squad, led by a trio of captains in seniors Brittany Hanrahan (North Penn) and Kaitlyn McSwiggan and junior Nora McGeever (Archbishop Carroll).

“Our goal is definitely to make it to the Atlantic 10 tournament,” said Hanrahan, who enters her second year as team captain this season. “The girls as a whole have been working really hard in the offseason, and I think all of our hard work is going to carry over into our conference games. We’re looking to start off really strong and get my first win out of four years against Temple on February 15. We’re making great progress and everybody is on board and ready to get it done.”

Val Paolucci had 26 goals and 111 assists in 2013

Val Paolucci (Springfield-Delco) had 26 goals and 111 assists in 2013

OFFENSE

Saint Joseph’s returns three Hawks that boasted 20+ goals and 25+ points apiece last season in senior attacks Abby Ananian and Val Paolucci (Springfield-Delco) and junior midfielder Julia Falcone (West Chester East). Last season, the three combined for 52 percent (78-of-149) of SJU’s total goals while Ananian and Paolucci were good for 46 percent (25-of-55) of the squad’s total number of assists. Although the Crimson and Gray loses last season’s leading scorer, Meghan McDevitt (30G, 21A), due to graduation, Coach Roessler expects her veteran trio to bolster the attack this season.

Ananian (24G, 14A) owned the circle last season with a team-best 51 draw controls, which tied her for second in the Atlantic 10. The offensive threat registered eight multi-goal games, including three hat tricks, and posted a goal in all but three games on the season. Paolucci utilized her speed to attack the net last season en route to a 37-point season off of 26 goals and 11 assists. Paolucci registered five hat tricks in 16 starts.

A two-time All-Conference selection, Falcone posted an spectacular sophomore campaign as she scored at least one goal in 15 of 16 games, including nine multi-goal games and two games in which she registered four tallies apiece. Falcone was effective on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field, evident as she ranked second on the team in goals (28) yet led the Hawks in ground balls (37) and tied for second in caused turnovers (16).

Seniors Michele Granger and Meghan Watkin (Bayard Rustin) will join Falcone in the midfield. Granger scored eight goals last season to go with 20 ground balls while Watkin was defensively solid in 13 starts, picking up 14 ground balls and causing five turnovers.

The sophomore attacking trio of Bianca Angstadt (Berks Catholic), Emily Bowers 9Notre Dame, NJ) and Bonnie McShane (Merion Mercy) broke through last season to post a combined 28 points off of 20 goals, including three game winners, and eight assists. Angstadt totaled 11 points (10G, 1A) in 14 appearances and scored at least one goal in nine separate contests. Bowers was good for 10 points (7G, 3A) in just six conference appearances, including three goals in A-10 win over La Salle. McShane recorded seven points (3G, 4A), highlighted by her two-goal, three-assist effort against Saint Mary’s.

Juniors Hallie Pickard (6G), Gianna Minutillo (3G), and Hannah Hutchins (2G) and sophomores Courtney Emanuele (1G, 1A) and Taylor Farrell will also return to the offensive end of the field this season while newcomers Nora McCallion (Notre Dame Academy) and Gia Padavano will add to the attack and Katelyn Ambrose, Christina Costantino, Taylor Dachowski, Becky Daub, Maura Monti, Alissa Salvitti (Archmere Academy), Sarah Smith, and Megan Tracy will be expected to help in the midfield.

DEFENSE

The senior trio of captains Hanrahan and Kaitlyn McSwiggan and Allison Heath (Villa Maria Academy) will anchor Saint Joseph’s defensive unit in 2014. All three veterans started every game last season en route to a putting together a back line that ranked in the nation’s top ten in scoring defense for the majority of 2013.

A 2013 Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team selection and second-year team captain, Hanrahan recorded a team-best 17 caused turnovers and ranked third with 26 ground balls. Heath ranked second on the team with 28 ground balls and 25 draw controls while McSwiggan tied for second on the team with 16 caused turnovers. Combined, the trio amounted for 37 percent (44-of-119) of SJU’s total caused turnovers and 26 percent (69-of-267) of SJU’s total ground balls in 2013.

Adding substantial quality and depth to the defensive unit will be sophomore Caroline Hagan (Hatboro-Horsham). Recognized for her determined play and consistent hustle, the 2013 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie selection was the top defensive freshman off the bench for the Hawks last season. Hagan caused 13 turnovers in 14 appearances and is expected make solid contributions in her sophomore campaign.

Sophomore Kelly Phelan returns as last season’s second draw-control specialist while junior Molly Curcio (Manheim Township), sophomore Mary Margaret Tonner, and freshmen Maggie Egan and Mallory Grey will also look to make solid contributions in 2014.

GOALKEEPERS

Sophomore Genevieve Giblin returns for her second year between the pipes in 2014. The 2013 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie selection had a breakout rookie season, starting 13 of 16 contests to boast an 8.82 goals-against average and .399 saves percentage in 870:51. Giblin ranked in the nation’s top 20 in goals-against average for a majority of the season and concluded her rookie season ranked sixth in the A-10 in goals-against average and eighth in saves percentage.

Junior McGeever will back up Giblin in goal this year. McGeever made two saves last season in SJU’s win over Presbyterian and will provide depth in goal for the Crimson and Gray in 2014.

OVERALL

The Hawks open their season on the road on Saturday, February 15 at Temple. Their first home game is slated for Friday, February 21 against LIU Brooklyn.

“We want to compete and we want to be one of the best teams in the league,” said McGeever. “We have a good team and a good, positive attitude. We just need to get through the cold and get to our games, but it’ll be fun. We’re ready and we’re pumped.”

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