By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/17/08
Well, what can you do for an encore?
Last year’s magical tour for the University of Pennsylvania women came to a crashing halt in the NCAA semifinals when the Quakers were throttled, 12-2, by eventual champion Northwestern.
But even with the lopsided loss, the season was clearly the best in school history and one of the best for a Philadelphia women’s team in years. Penn went 16-2, won its first outright Ivy League crown in history (7-0) and go to play as the host school for the Final Four tournament at Franklin Field.
Goalie Sarah Waxman and defender Hilary Renna were named first-team Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association (IWLCA) All-Americans and attacker Chrissy Muller was a third-team pick. Coach Karin Brower was named National Coach of the Year. Later, Waxman was named the IWLCA C. Markland Kelly National Goalkeeper of the Year.
Other than Muller, most of the key faces have returned. Waxman, a senior, and Renna, a junior, lead the defense and sophomore Ali DeLuca was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2007 after scoring 34 goals.
Also on offense, Penn will look to senior Rachel Manson (36 goals) and junior Becca Edwards (Springfield-Montco), who had 32 goals in 2007. Junior Hannah Rudloff (West Chester East), a part-time starter last year, could be a factor.
The midfield features senior Melissa Lehman, junior Kaitlyn Lombardo and sophomore Emily Spiro.
Penn, ranked sixth by Lacrosse magazine, opens its season Feb. 24 at Drexel.
La Salle – The Explorers are hoping to improve after going winless in the A-10 last year (0-7) and 4-11 overall. Fortunately, there is plenty of firepower back in the form of senior Emily Bonczek (40 goals last year, 138 in her career) and sophomore Jill Davis (Ridley), a 32-goal scorer who earned the A-10 Rookie of the Year. Stefany McKee scored 15 goals as a freshman.
The Explorers are counting on a strong freshmen class dominated by local products. Goalie Mara Schnellenbach (Ridley) may get the starting nod and two other former Green Raiders who led Ridley to last year’s District 1 Class AAA title game, defenders Shannon Bernard and Erin McBride, will vie for time.
Temple – The Owls went 6-11 overall last year, but were 4-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference and fell to Richmond in the semifinals. Senior midfielder Hillary Richards was an IWLCA Second Team Regional All-American last year and heads the returnees along with her twin sister, midfielder Whitney Richards, senior midfielder Berkley Summerlin (Hill School), senior attacker Nicole Caniglia (Radnor), senior defender Lindsay Wells, and senior goalie Bridget McMullan.
Drexel – The Dragons, who were 12-5 last year but only 3-4 in the rugged Colonial Athletic Association, opened Saturday with a 13-10 triumph over Virginia Tech. Key players include attackers Jessica Bill (38 goals last year) and Kaitlin Keegan (Springfield-Delco), and midfielders Gwenna Johnson, Katie Bradley (Owen J. Roberts), and Sarah Carter. Senior Maura Cullen (Springfield-Delco) heads the defense and freshman Sarah Bauer (West Chester East) earned a starting nod.
Villanova – The Wildcats, who went 7-9 last year, return most of their top scorers, including Taryn McKenna (19 goals), Stevie McFadden (17), Erica Rybinski (16) and Taylor Lucy (12). Seniors Nikki Bell and Laura Garrett head the defense while junior Meredith Kolmer (Conestoga) is a returning starter.
St. Joseph’s – The Hawks are coming off a 7-9 season which saw them go 2-5 in the A-10. Key returnees include sophomore attacker Jenna Martino (31 goals), junior midfielder Jessica Westlake (27), senior midfielder Christina Colangelo (26), senior midfielder Lindsey-Kate McCool (18), senior attacker Ashley Brennan (Radnor), junior midfielder Colleen Ingelsby (Archbishop Carroll) and senior midfielder Abby Renninger (Conestoga). Junior goalie Suzy Herlihy also returns.
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