Monthly Archives: January 2014

NCAA: #11 Notre Dame Women’s Lacrosse 2014 Season Preview In Lacrosse Magazine


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Best Case: Fortunato is as good as advertised — “She’s a game changer,” Halfpenny said — becomes just the fourth player in this millennium to earn IWLCA first-team All-American honors as a freshman and puts Notre Dame in the national championship conversation. The Irish also get Lindsay Powell and Margaret Smith back to full health in time for a run to the final four, despite a hiccup or two in the powerful ACC.
Worst Case: Aggressive faceguards force the Irish to seek other options other than Fortunato on an unproven attack line and they are unable to generate enough offense from the midfield to keep up with the likes of North Carolina, Maryland and Syracuse. They go 1-6 in the ACC, beating only Virginia Tech, make the NCAA tournament on strength of schedule and fall in the first round for the third straight year.

Vitals

2013 Record: 12-5 (5-3 Big East) Coach: Christine Halfpenny (3rd year) Record at Notre Dame: 25-10

Power Ratings

Offense: 3 Defense: 4 Goalkeeping: 3 Draw Control: 4

Top Returner

D Barbara Sullivan (Jr.) The youngest first-team All-American in Notre Dame history will anchor the Irish’s high-pressure defense, continue to take the draw and get the toughest 1-on-1 assignments. Look for entertaining matchups against Maryland’s Taylor Cummings and Duke’s Taylor Trimble, among others, and more of a presence from Sullivan in the transition offense in 2014.

X-Factor

M Casey Pearsall (Fr.) Pearsall tore her ACL playing basketball last February, forcing her to sit out her senior season in lacrosse—a year after she set two school scoring records and was named Connecticut’s top player. With Cortney Fortunato stealing the headlines in this Notre Dame freshman class, Pearsall is an under-the-radar pick to do big things in South Bend this spring.

NCAA Tournament Trend

2009 – Quarterfinals 2010 – First Round 2011 – Did Not Qualify 2012 – First Round 2013 – First Round

What’s New?

What’s not? Notre Dame moves from the Big East to the ACC, Halfpenny’s old haunts. (She played at Virginia Tech and was an assistant at Duke.) “I’m thrilled. I have, like, an immature giggle about it,” Halfpenny said. “It’s such an edgy conference. Every player in that conference, they’re the best of the best.” Additionally, the Irish will deploy a more midfield-heavy lineup and plan to unveil a nontraditional uniform with a slightly altered color scheme. Fortunato, Persall and Alex Dalton all likely will start as freshmen. “Everything’s new,” Halfpenny said. “We’re traveling to new venues. We’re playing new opponents. I’m excited because I know it. I know what’s coming. It just gets me really fired up to share that with them.”

Telling Number

3 Freshmen that could be in the starting lineup for Notre Dame’s season opener Feb. 12 against Cincinnati: Cortney Fortunato (82 goals, 36 assists at Northport (N.Y.) High), Casey Pearsall (41 goals and 77 assists in 2012 at Wilton (Conn.) High) and Alex Dalton (70 goals, 79 assists at Notre Dame (Mass.) Academy) are the real deal.

Enemy Lines

What Rival Coaches Say “Cortney Fortunato has finally arrived and has everyone excited to see if she can carry this team to a national championship.”

“Lots of talent, but haven’t lived up to the hype in recent years, Maybe 2014 changes that?”

“A lot of key players are returning in every position. The GK Allie Murray will be a player to watch in cage.”

“Top recruiting classes along with strong veterans will help Coach Halfpenny win a lot of games.”

“They have a lot of talent.”

“Had a few head-scratching losses last season. Fortunato could be enough to turn a few of those games into Ws.”

“Solid blend of experience and youth.”

“They have the talent and will hopefully put it together this year.”

“Not that they won’t be ready for it, but playing in the ACC will be an adjustment for anyone.”

“They have a highly touted freshmen class, so they have some great talents there and will look a little different, I’m sure, than we saw them last. They are a really athletic team, and certainly with (coach) Christine (Halfpenny) now being there a couple years, I’m sure they are starting to get into their systems a little better.”

2013 Recap

In a Nutshell: For the second straight season, Notre Dame started off scorching hot, only to cool significantly down the stretch. The Irish won their first 10 games, their best start since 2004, and rose to as high as No. 5 in national rankings. But they stumbled through the Big East, losing four of their last six regular season games. The late-season slide was punctuated by an NCAA tournament first-round loss to Stanford. In that game, Notre Dame rallied from three goals down to go ahead 7-6 with 5:07 remaining. Stanford tied it with just under two minutes remaining and won it on Hannah Farr’s free-position goal with four seconds remaining, the result of an Irish shooting space violation.

High Point: A 13-12 victory over Big East foe Georgetown on April 14 made it look like the Irish’s late-season luck might change. They were outplayed in most statistical categories, but showed remarkable resiliency and offensive efficiency. Goalie Ellie Hilling made 14 saves and Caitlin Gargan scored four second-half goals in the win at Arlotta Stadium.

Low Point: It couldn’t feel much lower than losing an NCAA tournament game on a free position, due to shooting space, of all things. Stanford’s Hannah Farr drew the foul with 8 seconds left in the teams’ first-round encounter and scored the game-winner with 4 seconds remaining, sending Notre Dame packing in the first round for the second straight season. “A shooting space call with 8 seconds left was very difficult to swallow,” Halfpenny said. “You have to take your lumps. That was one of them. We’re not defeated by that loss. We’re motivated by that loss.”

NCAA Lacrosse: Cal Berkeley Women’s Lacrosse 2014 Season Preview Features Ten Incoming Freshman Balancing Loss Of Two-Time MPSF POY


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A mix of veterans and 10 incoming freshmen gives head coach Ginger Miles and the Cal lacrosse team a lot of depth and opportunities for her Bears to shine in 2014.
Cal will miss the departed two-time MPSF Player of the Year Megan Takacs, but Miles said that while filling the void of losing a player like Takacs will not be easy, her roster is filled with upperclassmen with experience and hungry newcomers looking to make a big impact.

“I think the team is looking really well,” Miles said. “With 10 freshmen joining the team, there was a lot of foundational stuff that we were working on during the fall, and I think our freshmen caught on pretty quickly. I was really impressed with their progress, and really happy that our team did such a great job of integrating them into our system.

“We’re going to have a much tougher time deciding on our lineups from week to week because there are so many more people in the mix. I’m excited about how much more depth we have at all positions this year.”

Seniors Paige Gasparino and Marissa O’Meally and junior Gaby Christman will be the team captains this year.

Gasparino and Christman are both midfielders, while senior Amelia Burke will also be in the mix to make a big impact. Miles said Gasparino will be a “floater” and will likely end up on a lot of team’s scouting reports as an offensive threat. Freshmen Charlotte Biffar and Caroline Schlegel will also be in line to boost the midfield.

O’Meally anchors the defense with returning starters Grace Parente and Jacqueline Pelletier. Junior Casey Reid and sophomore Michele DeVincent will also provide depth on defense.

Takacs wasn’t the only big loss from last season. The also-departed Melissa Humphrey had been the team’s leader in assists. Sophomore Lizz Lavie will take over Humphrey’s role as the feeder. Miles said Lavie spent a lot of time learning from Humphrey last year and she feels like Lavie is ready to become Humphrey’s heir apparent. Not only Lavie, but Miles is also counting on sophomores Brynn Gasparino and Nicole Beck, as well as incoming freshmen Bella Huther and Jena Fritts to make big contributions on the line of attack.

With the loss of goalkeeper Megan McGinnis, sophomore Helen Hansen will step in and start in the cage for the Bears. Miles said Hansen learned a lot from watching McGinnis last year and she’s confident that Hansen will help strengthen the defense.

As always, the Bears will be striving for the all-important MPSF Championship and a berth into the NCAA Tournament. The MPSF is getting stronger year after year, with 2013 champion Denver and perennial contender Stanford always posing as threats to Cal’s success. There are a number of Bears who have yet to enjoy a victory over those teams and Miles said she’d love nothing more than to see her team notch a couple big wins over those teams this year.

“We always want to win the conference; that’s our main goal,” Miles said. “We’ve come really close the past couple years. I think we’ve got a great group of veteran leaders on this team and some younger players who have been through the ups and downs. Our conference continues to get stronger every year. We can’t take a single team for granted. You go through the schedule and your opponents, and I’d say the majority of the games on our schedule are pretty unpredictable at this point. We will have a lot of games that can go either way.”

The 2014 season marks the 15-year anniversary of the Cal lacrosse program. The Bears will celebrate the anniversary during the April 6 match against USC. In addition, this season also marks the 10-year anniversary of when Cal won its’ lone MPSF title in 2004. Miles is hoping these benchmarks in the history of the program will help inspire the Bears to reach new heights this year and bring home their second conference championship.

“This being our 15 year anniversary, we’re a relatively young program in comparison to some of our counterparts across the country,” Miles said. “We’re really proud to be where we are. To look back at our history and see how far we’ve come, and to be a team that we think is capable of competing every year for an MPSF Championship is pretty remarkable. We’re at our 10 year anniversary of winning our first title back in 2004. We’d love to get our second one this year.”

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MCLA Lacrosse: UCLA Men’s Lacrosse Releases “2014 Season Schedule Poster”


UCLA Men's Lacrosse

NCAA Lacrosse: Virginia Women’s Lacrosse Debuts Episode 1 Of 2014 Series “The Crease” (Video)


Virginia Women’s Lacrosse prepare for the 2014 Season.  Follow them in this behind the scenes web series.

NCAA Lacrosse: Denver Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Liza Kelly Introduces 7 Freshman Players


Denver Women's Lacrosse

The University of Denver women’s lacrosse team welcomes seven new faces to the program this year to help replace five graduating seniors from last season.
“This freshman class brings in a lot of size and speed,” said head coach Liza Kelly. “They are working really hard and being pushed to better themselves. This is a different team and these girls are ready to get the season started.”

Molly DankoA midfielder from Baltimore, Danko comes in with three years of experience with The Bryn Mawr School. Danko has been honored with numerous awards during her high school career, including being named to the 2013 Balimore Messenger Girls All-Star Lacrosse Frist Team and the 2013 Towson Times Girls All-Star Second Team. Additionally, Danko played in the 2012 Under Armor Underclassmen Games. Outside of lacrosse, Danko played four years of field hockey and basketball in high school, leading her team to the IAAM A Conference Championship and Final No. 1 ranking in the state of Maryland in 2009.

Hunter GrayA defenseman from Mount Laurel, N.J., Gray becomes a Pioneer after playing four years of lacrosse at Lenape High School. Gray is a two-time recipient of the All-South Jersey First Team and All-Conference First Team. Gray was also honored as a member of the All-County (Burlington County) First Team in 2012. Additionally, Gray played field hockey in high school, earning All-Conference Second Team.

Ellie KnottA midfielder from Baltimore, Knott enters DU after playing four years at The Bryn Mawr School. Knott chose Denver for its strong academics and competitive athletics. Knott also considered Boston College, James Madison, Virginia Tech and Virginia for lacrosse. In addition to lacrosse, Knott played four years of field hockey.

Nicole MartindaleAt attack from Brooklin, Ontario, Martindale led the Lady Blue Knights club team to six Provincial Lacrosse Championships. Martindale was named to the Syracuse Nike Cup All-Star Team in 2011 and 2012. Martindale also played ice hockey in high school, leading her team to three Provincial Hockey Championships.

Sybil PallaceA midfielder from Baltimore, Pallace led Mc Dough High School to four undefeated seasons and the No. 1 ranking in the nation. Pallace played seven seasons for the Skywalkers club team, winning the Charm City Tournament. Pallace also played soccer, tennis and basketball in high school.

Maddy StevensonA goalkeeper from Bainbridge Island, Wash., Stevenson led her team to a pair of Washington State Championships in 2011 and 2012. Additionally, Stevenson earned All-State First Team in four-consecutive years from 2010-13. Stevenson also played four years of volleyball in high school as an outside hitter.

Layne VoorheesA midfielder from Alexandria, Va., Voorhees comes to DU after playing three years at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School. Voorhees helped her team to three-consecutive VISAA State Championships from 2011-13.

DU finished the 2013 season with an 18-3 record, beating Jacksonville 14-7 in the NCAA Tournament first round. Denver went undefeated at home and had a perfect 8-0 record in the regular season against Mountain Pacific Sports Federation teams.

The Crimson and Gold opens its 2014 schedule against Colorado at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. Additionally, Denver will host the 2014 MPSF Tournament from May 1-3.

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Ivy League Lacrosse: Brown Men’s Lacrosse 2014 “Behind The Scenes” Season Preview (Video)


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NCAA Lacrosse: #14 Stanford Women’s Lacrosse 2014 Season Preview By Lacrosse Magazine


Stanford Women's Lacrosse Banner

Best Case: With so many returners from a solid 2013 season, including the entire offense, the Cardinal should expect even better results this year. The more experienced 2014 squad learned from its mistakes last year, and this time, winning the conference comes with greater ease. Stanford even takes it another step further, advancing beyond the second round of the NCAA tournament just one year after earning its first NCAA victory.
Worst Case: The Cardinal struggles to keep up its energy level after such a strong turnaround last season, and the team reverts back to some of the issues that left them below .500 in 2012. The amount of talent returning still makes it unlikely Stanford will experience any major drop-off, but the Cardinal doesn’t have enough left in the tank at the end to win another NCAA tournament game.

Vitals

2013 Record: 14-6 (8-2 MPSF) Coach: Amy Bokker (6th year) Record at Stanford: 67-29

Power Ratings (scale of 1-5)

Offense: 4 Defense: 3 Goalkeeping: 3 Draw Control: 4

Top Returner

M Anna Kim (Sr.) Kim, a first team All-MPSF selection last year, is a player who makes an impact in all aspects of the game. In addition to her 32 goals, 11 assists, she finished second on the team in draw controls with 56 and added seven caused turnovers. In tight situations, she is the Cardinal’s go-to player, and she doesn’t back down from a challenge.

X-Factor

D Megan Lerner (Sr.) The team’s top defender last year, Lerner led Stanford with 25 caused turnovers and was a key in setting up the offense with a program-record 63 draw controls. She also was second in ground balls with 35.

“She gets a lot of draws for us and creates a lot of plays for us on defense,” Bokker said. “She could definitely be a real difference-maker.”

Tournament Trend

2009 – Did not qualify 2010 – First round 2011 – First round 2012 – Did not qualify 2013 – Second round

What’s New?

The Cardinal travels to the East Coast to play Towson on March 7 for just the second time in program history and will get an early glimpse of the 2014 Final Four site. Towson won the only other meeting of the teams, 10-9, in 2010.

Telling Number

1 The number of starters lost to graduation – which means the Cardinal has some experience returning this season. Eight of the projected starters are juniors or seniors, and the other four are sophomores who got valuable playing time as freshmen, including three as starters.

Enemy Lines

What Rival Coaches Say

“The class of the West is forming rivalries with Denver, USC and Oregon this year. Colorado to come… They’re an interesting team to watch with creative defensive looks. Similar to all of their sports, I think they will compete at the highest level.”

“They are one of the best-coached teams in the country. They have great athletes coming back on the attacking end. Rachel Ozer coming back is a solid playmaker, great hands, real quick feet. But I think the biggest thing for them is their athleticism. They have some returners that get up and down really well and they have some really good freshmen that I think will contribute, so I think they are going to be really dangerous this year.”

2013 Recap

In a Nutshell: A historical season began with a two-goal loss to Notre Dame, but the MPSF-champion Cardinal won a rematch to claim its first ever NCAA tournament victory. Stanford bounced back from the season-opening loss to the Irish with back-to-back wins over Harvard and then-No. 13 Ohio State, and later earned a victory over No. 19 James Madison. The team finished 14-6, including 3-4 against ranked opponents.

High Point: After ending the regular season with narrow victory over Cal, Stanford turned around to rout the Golden Bears, 16-6, five days later in the MPSF semifinals. Next, the Cardinal avenged a regular-season loss to Denver to win an eighth conference championship in nine years and followed that with a 7-6 win over Notre Dame to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.

Low Point: With the way the Cardinal’s regular season ended, it was a surprise how strong the team finished. In the second to last game, Stanford dropped a disappointing 15-14 overtime loss to UC-Davis – after trailing by as much as five with 15 minutes left — and nearly lost to California two days later. Rachel Ozer scored with eight seconds left to break a 13-13 tie and win the game.