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College preview: @LehighWLacrosse looks to make another step forward

Wednesday, 11th February 2015

Categories College, Girl's/Women's, Posted 2/11/15
From Press Release

The Lehigh women’s lacrosse team took a big step forward last season. Most notably, the Mountain Hawks advanced to the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2011. They also handed Boston University its first-ever Patriot League loss, and defeated archrival Lafayette amidst a rain storm at the Ulrich Sports Complex.

Lauren Willcox

Lauren Willcox

There’s good news for the Mountain Hawks; they return all but two starters. Lehigh’s core is filled with experienced players who have enjoyed success at the collegiate level. Coupled with talented freshmen, the Mountain Hawks are excited about the potential of this group. Lehigh features the reigning Patriot League Rookie Player of the Year, three senior defenders who have started together since day one, a senior attacker who is approaching 100 career goals and a team that returns its top four scorers (who combined for 134 points last season).

Lehigh looks to continue its forward progress in 2015 and make a Patriot League Championship Game appearance.

The Mountain Hawks open their season Saturday (Feb. 14) when they travel to Penn State. Lehigh’s home opener is set for the following Friday (Feb. 20) against UC Davis when former Garnet Valley and Coach of the Year Kate Henwood makes a Philly return.

“This group has strong leadership and they’re also well-conditioned,” said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern (Ursinus). “We rely on discipline in all aspects of our game. These three attributes will be keys to our 2015 team. Our first few games will help us sort out the midfield rotation. Our schedule is tough and we are hoping to go deeper into our roster this season. We need to wait and see how some of our more inexperienced players perform and what roles they are ready to fill.”

Leading the way at attack is sophomore Allie LaBeau and senior Carli Sukonik (Harriton), who enters her senior season with 98 career goals and 14 assists. A three-time All-Patriot League honoree, Sukonik tallied 32 goals and five assists last season, finishing first on the team in goals and second in points. LaBeau led the Mountain Hawks with 38 points during her freshman campaign (29 goals, nine assists), was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year and earned a tryout for the U.S. National Team last summer.

Junior Kendall Garden anchors the midfield after a breakout sophomore season which saw her tally 20 goals, 11 assists, 42 groundballs, 22 draw controls and 32 draw controls. She filled up the stat sheet, finishing at or near the top of most categories. Garden was honored with All-Patriot League recognition.

Sophomores Julianne D’Orazio and Lauren Beausoleil will join Garden in the midfield. D’Orazio had 21 groundballs, 22 caused turnovers and 23 draw controls as a freshman while Beausoleil finished with nine points, 27 groundballs, 11 caused turnovers and 11 draw controls.

Defense is Lehigh’s most experienced position as seniors Kelly Scott, Michelle Abramczyk and Lauren Willcox (Agnes Irwin) have all started alongside each other from day one. Collectively, they’ve helped the Mountain Hawks develop into one of the nation’s best defenses. The team’s goals against average last season was 8.48, good for second in the Patriot League.

Sophomore Taylor Tvedt is projected to get the starting nod at goalkeeper. Tvedt appeared in four games as a freshman, posting a 7.10 goals against average and .429 save percentage.

There’s a strong combination of experience and youth on this Mountain Hawk team. The 2015 season holds lots of promise.

“It’s great to have a core group of juniors and seniors who have played so many minutes over four years,” said Redfern. “We absolutely need to capitalize on their experience. Although this team has seasoned veterans, we also have younger players that are going to see time and contribute.”

Lehigh aspires to continue pushing forward, to not only make the Patriot League Tournament, but advance in the tournament and compete for a championship. To reach that point, the Mountain Hawks are taking it one day at a time.

“Our goal is to take one game at a time,” said Redfern. “Staying healthy is always a key to success. Right now, we are focused on our February performance.”



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