A new era of Connecticut College Women's Lacrosse has begun as recently appointed Head Coach Liz Longley and the Camels prepare for their season opener at Bowdoin College March 10.
Longley is encouraged with the squad's transition in a productive pre-season and is looking forward to get things started in what is regarded as the deepest and most talented league in the nation.
"We are focused on the little things," Longley said. "We understand that if we execute the little things well, success will follow. We look forward to building on the success that we have had in practice as we prepare for our season opener. With our experienced leadership in place and our youthful enthusiasm fostering a positive learning environment, we are looking to make an impact in the NESCAC and continue to improve on this fun and challenging journey."
Longley's leadership team is in place. Seniors Kate Driscoll and Grace Megaffin will be joined by junior Libby Nichols as team tri-captains.
Driscoll, a 2011 All-NESCAC and IWLCA All-Region performer is a versatile and gifted three-sport athlete, who has tallied 75 goals and 24 assists for a total of 99 points over the past three years. In 2011, Driscoll led the Camels with 34 goals, 12 assists, 46 points, 36 ground balls and 24 caused turnovers.
Megaffin (26 ground balls, 11 caused turnovers) anchored an improved Camel defense that trimmed three goals off of its goals against average from the previous season.
Nichols is a dangerous scoring threat who has scored 18 goals in each of the past two seasons.
In goal, the Camels will count on the experience and energy of junior Kelsey Burke. Burke has come up with some clutch saves in her first two seasons with the program and should only approve under the tutelage and direction of assistant coach Kate Fowler, a talented keeper who posted a 74-8 record as a starter at Hamilton.
Longley has been pleased with the tenacity and dedication of a young defensive unit. Megaffin leads this group. Look for senior Deanna Ezzio (19 ground balls, five caused turnovers) and two-sport standout Molly Murphy (14 ground balls, seven caused turnovers) to make an impact.
Midfield figures to be the Camels' forte in 2012. Driscoll is a game-changing midfielder who needs to be accounted for at all time. Junior Bri Miller tallied 24 goals and 17 ground balls in 2011 and can utilize her open field speed to score goals in the transition game. Sophomore Haley Dumke (7 goals, five ground balls) and Sarah Matthews are ready to step in and play increased roles in 2012.
Nichols leads a young attack that will gain experience with more playing time. Junior Maura Brazel (5 goals, 10 assists) is a capable scoring threat. Sophomore Lowell Abbott is ready to step in and contribute after missing action in 2011 due to injury.
With five NESCAC teams ranked in the top 10 the Camels will continue to tackle one of the toughest schedules in the nation.
But Longley sees improvement every day and the Camels are ready for the exciting challenges that await them in the weeks to come.
After hitting the road for their season opener at Bowdoin March 10, the Camels return home to host Tufts University March 13 for a 3:30 p.m. game on the Artificial Turf at Silfen Field.
March 2, 2012