STANDISH, ME – The Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse program looks to rebound from a disappointing 2011 campaign by making a run at the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) title this spring.
The Monks went 5-7 with a 2-6 mark en route to missing the conference tourney for the first time in the program's short history last year. Despite losing the team's most prolific scorer, departed senior Alyssa Marchant, third-year Head Coach Anna Gordon has high hopes for the 2012 squad.
Marchant, the 2011 GNAC Women's Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Year, left the SJC women's lacrosse program owning 25 team records, including games (54), goals (203), points (231), shots (428), shots on goal (338), game-winners (10), man-up goals (8), free-position goals (24), free position shots (57), ground balls (182) and caused turnovers (56). Many of these marks are likely to stand for some time.
Marchant's departure does not leave the cupboard bare however, as the Monks return nine starters and 14 players overall this spring.
Senior midfielder and team tri-captain Amelia Santos (Beverly, Mass.) netted 22 goals and a team-high 21 assists last year and will be expected to pick up some of the offensive slack this year. Through five games, Santos appears to be on track for her finest season with nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points, the second-highest total on the team.
Sophomore midfielder Anneka Adame (San Diego, Calif.) is another talented returning starter for the Monks. As a freshman she led the nation – NCAA DI, DII and DIII – with 6.67 draw controls per contest and added six goals, two assists and 31 ground balls in her first collegiate season. So far this spring she leads the Monks in draw controls (27) and ranks second on the team in goals (12) and ground balls (19).
One of the top players to watch this season is sophomore attacker Cassie Diplock (Augusta, Maine), who tallied 26 goals and five assists en route to earning the team's Rookie of the Year honor in 2011. She has broken out in a big way this spring with 19 goals through five games.
Other skilled returners include senior midfielder and team tri-captain Megan Cutter (Westbrook, Maine), junior attacker Erika Waterhouse (South Portland, Maine), sophomore attacker Krystal Walsh (Springvale, Maine), senior defender and tri-captain Allyson Woods (Portland, Maine/McAuley), and sophomore midfielder Rachelle Messuri (Atkinson, N.H.).
Top incoming freshmen include attackers Chelsea Black (Gorham, Maine) and Victoria Tenenbaum (Brunswick, Maine/McAuley) and midfielder Kirstin McCombs (Lewiston, Maine), who has tallied five points and 18 ground balls so far this season.
As of March 29th, the Monks are 3-2 overall and 2-1 in GNAC play with quality conference victories over Lasell College and Emerson College. St. Joe's topped Emerson, 8-6, on March 28th – the Monks' first-ever victory over the two-time GNAC Champions – as Diplock netted five goals and sophomore Elizabeth Giacchino (Melrose, Mass.), making her first career start in net, faced 26 shots and made 14 saves in the triumph.
Saint Joseph's, forecasted to finish fifth in the conference according to the GNAC Preseason Poll, will look to build off this important early-season conference conquest and make another deep run in the GNAC tourney, as the Monks did just two years ago when the team went 10-4-1 overall and 7-1 in league games en route to earning the #2 seed in the tournament.