Feb. 15, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Women's Lacrosse team begins the 2013 season this Saturday when they make the short trek to Bethlehem, Pa. to face the Lehigh Mountain Hawks at Ulrich Sports Complex. Game time is slated for 1 p.m. on the Lehigh University campus.
The Wildcats are looking to improve upon their 4-12 overall record from just a season ago under second year Head Coach Julie Young and return 26 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's squad. Led by senior captains Maria Bowman (Ft. Belvoir, Va.), Annie Fallon (Shrewsbury, N.J.), Sarah Moody (Burke, Va.) and Shawna Giust (Basking Ridge, N.J.), the Wildcats are ready to take on some of the best competition in the nation as they strive for a spot in the BIG EAST Championship and NCAA Tournament.
Young welcomes 16 freshmen to the squad this season that will boost the speed and depth for the team entering the new year. Young states, "This year we want to have an open mindset. We've found that next level. We want to play aggressive defense and go into every game with no preconceived notions about the team we're about to face. We're focused on taking our season game-by-game and improving each time we hit the turf."
Saturday contest also marks the season opener for the Mountain Hawks. Head Coach Jill Redfern's team features 17 underclassmen led by sophomore Carli Sukonik who posted a team-leading 41 goals and 47 points last season. Two of Lehigh's top three scorers return with senior co-captain Julie McBrien finishing third on the team in scoring in 2012 with 36 points via 24 goals and 12 assists. The Mountain Hawks have made five of the last six Patriot League Tournaments but failed to qualify last season and struggled down the closing stretch.
Defensively, junior Alexandra Fitzpatrick is expected to start in goal after missing most of 2012 due to injury. As a freshman, Fitzpatrick was a First Team All-Patriot League honoree and tallied an 8.66 goals against average and a 50.6 save percentage, good for third best in the NCAA. A trio of sophomore defenders return as the starting line on defense in Michelle Abramczyk, Lauren Wilcox and Kelly Scott while the Mountain Hawks have three freshmen vying for the final slot on the line.