Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 12/15/16
From Press Release
Head coach Missy Doherty and the women’s lacrosse team announced earlier this week that seniors Erika Spilker (Severna Park, Md.) and Abby Smucker (Bel Air, Md.) along with junior and 2014 Phillylacrosse.com 2014 Co-Player of the Year Katie O’Donnell (West Chester, Pa./Henderson High) will serve as team captains for the 2017 season.
“These three girls are very diverse leaders,” mentioned Doherty. “They each lead in different ways and by playing different positions it will give us a broad sense of leadership throughout the team.”
O’Donnell, an All-Big Ten member in 2016, enters her first year as captain, but has led by example as well as being vocal at the right times so far during her time in Happy Valley. O’Donnell was third on the team last season with 46 goals and added four assists for 50 points while collecting 25 draws and 27 ground balls.
“We are all on the same page of what we expect from each other and the team so overall consistency is important,” said O’Donnell.
Spilker, who refers to herself as an energetic and vocal leader, returns as captain for a third consecutive season. The fifth-year senior paced the defense to a Final Four berth and a No. 4 national ranking to end the 2016 season. Spilker caused 10 turnovers while collecting 21 ground balls in 20 games last season.
“Erika has always approached everything with a positive outlook and is a great leader,” commented Doherty. “She brings back a lot of experience and she’ll be great to have as a good organizing voice on the defensive end.”
Smucker, said by Doherty to be a true lead by example type player, served with Spilker as a co-captain last season. She started all 21 games in 2016 finding the back of the net nine times while adding a pair of assists for 11 points.
Voted a unanimous All-Big Ten selection, Smucker was also second on the team in caused turnovers with 27 while adding 30 ground balls and 22 draw controls on the year.
“The most important thing this leadership group can do is lead by example,” stated Smucker. “Showing up every day, working hard, being willing to listen to feedback and to continually adjust so the team can be successful is the example we all try to put out there.”
“We work really well together and always learn from each other, which is the key to our bond,” concluded Spilker.
Penn State opens the season at home against Albany on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 12 p.m.