The Norwich Cadets Take the Top Seed in the Women’s Lacrosse GNAC Preseason Poll
Norwich University is voted as the top seed in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women’s Lacrosse Preseason Poll. The Cadets are the 2011 GNAC Champions, and look for a third straight win again this season.
Following the Cadets in second place is Lasell College. Emerson was voted in third, with Mount Ida and Simmons tying in fourth. Also tying for the fifth spot is St. Joseph's College of Maine and Rivier, while Emmanuel rounds out the final spot in the top 8 ranking.
1. Norwich (75)
2. Lasell (66)
3. Emerson (56)
4. Mount Ida (53)
4. Simmons (53)
5. St. Joseph's of Maine (43)
5. Rivier (43)
6. Emmanuel (27)
#1 Norwich University
The Cadets are the team to beat this year having won the GNAC Championship the past two seasons. They had an overall record of 10-3 and an impressive 8-0 conference record. They are lead by senior defender Lori Baldassara (Manchester, NH), senior midfielder Kacey Abbriano (Hicksville, NY), and senior attacker Suzanne Whitaker (Chelmsford, MA). Abbriano is the top returning scorer, and Whitaker was fourth on the team with goals. Sophomore midfielder Grace Fitspatrick (Falmouth, ME) was the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association All-Regional Second Team.
#2 Lasell College
The Lasers finished their 2011 season campaign with an overall record off 11-7, and conference record of 7-1. They return two GNAC All-Conference First Team selections in junior Ashley Slattery (Weymouth, MA) and sophomore Britney Wuorio (Bolton, MA). Slattery had a huge impact on the team with 53 goals, 44 ground balls, and 94 draw controls. Her draw control dominance had her ranked 5th in the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse. Wuorio had a notable rookie season. She led the team in total points with 45 goals and 19 assists.
#3 Emerson College
Emerson was voted into the three spot on this preseason poll. They welcome this season a new Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach, Megan Moore. Coach Moore coached at Washington and Lee University for two years as the First Assistant, and was the Second Assistant at Dickson College before Washington and Lee for a season. The team returns two GNAC All-Conference Second Team members in sophomore midfielder Chelsea Philips (Waterford, CT), and junior goalkeeper Emily Saeger (Center Valley, PA). Phillips had 58 goals and 10 assists last season. Saegar had an impressive save average of 10.3 a game.
#4 Mount Ida College
The Mustangs come off a good season with an overall record of 9-9 and conference record of 4-4. Last season they had three returning players make the GNAC All-Conference Teams. Senior attacker Jen Thompson (Easton, MD), senior defender Jeileen Rivera (Springfield, MA), and sophomore Ebony Mills (Harrison, ME) were all First Team selections. Thompson had 65 goals which ranked her in the top 40 nationally in goals scored. Rivera had 70 caused turnovers which had her ranked second nationally in caused turnovers. Mills had impressive rookie season last year with 53 goals and 5 assists, and 50 draw controls.
#4 Simmons College
The Sharks had an overall record of 7-6, and GNAC record of 5-3 in their 2011 season. They return 12 veterans and welcome 9 rookies. In goal, for the Sharks, will be junior Kelly Last (West Haven, CT). Last had 149 saves in 2011 for a save percentage of .512. Sophomore Seneca Martensson (East Longmeadow, MA) will be an imposing force for the Sharks defense as she was in her rookie season. On attack, sophomore Rachel Wallace (Braintree, MA) will be back from an injury last season that cut her impressive rookie campaign short. She was leading the team with 31 goals before being sidelined.
#6 Rivier College
The Raiders had an impressive sophomore season last year with an overall record of 9-7, and conference record of 3-5. This was a huge improvement from their 3-11 record in 2010. Rebecca Wickens (Tynsboro, MA) was named to the GNAC All-Conference Team. She led the team in her rookie season with 66 goals, and 6 assists. Caitlin Gallagher (Billerica, MA) was also named to the GNAC All-Conference Team for her defensive skills on the field. Gallagher had 27 ground balls, 7 draw controls, and 9 caused turnovers.
#6 Saint Joseph's College of Maine
Saint Joseph's went 5-7 overall, including a 2-6 mark in conference play, and missed the GNAC Tournament for the first time in four years as a member of the conference last spring. Head Coach Anna Gordon, now in her third season at the helm, will look to a solid corps of returners and an impressive freshman class to propel the Monks back into the thick of the GNAC tourney this spring.
#7 Emmanuel College
Emmanuel is looking forward to their second season as a varsity program, after finishing the 2011 season with a 3-9 record overall and 2-7 in GNAC play. The Saints were led by now senior, Logan Carr who led the team with 35 goals and 40 points for the year. Junior Madeline Leahy also returns to the squad who was second on the team with 26 goals and 29 points. Sophomore Hillary Dandurant stood strong in the net for the Saints in every game, making 113 saves for the year and tallying a .382 save percentage. Sophomore Michaela Brennan (Worcester, Mass.) was strong defensively, tallying 42 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers for the season.