Lacrosse 2018 Season Outlook
Together, Resilience, Toughness
OPENING DRAW: The George Washington lacrosse team is set to begin its 2018 season on Saturday when it heads down to Greenville, North Carolina to face East Carolina University at noon in the Pirates’ first game of their inaugural season.
GOODBYE GRADUATES: The Colonials graduated eight seniors last season and will look to their 21 underclassmen to rise to the occasion. Head Coach Tracy Coyne will need a number of those newcomers to fill the void left by some key losses, which include leading scorers Shea Cassidy, Bailey Forcier, Michaela Lynch, and Cassidy Shollenberger, along with defensive anchor Becca Taub.
FALL FLASHBACK: The Buff and Blue competed against a tough slate of opponents in the fall to prepare for a challenging 2018 spring schedule. GW saw its biggest victory at William & Mary and closed out its best fall ball season under Coyne with a winning record.
“For the freshmen, they became so much more integrated because we played a competitive fall season,” said Coyne. “The fall allowed them to become more settled in, familiar with the routine, and in tune with the expectations we have as a team. They’ve definitely transitioned from understanding the high school game, to understanding the college game. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but this fall has definitely set the groundwork for them to grow and be successful.”
ON THE ATTACK: GW will rely on senior co-captain Jocelyn Donohue to lead the squad on the offensive end. Donohue finished her junior campaign pacing the team with a career-high 39 goals, a mark that ranks ninth on GW’s single-season goal list. The information systems major also tallied six assists, picked up 14 ground balls, grabbed 16 draw controls, and caused seven turnovers in 2017.
The Colonials will also look to senior Camaryn Kerns and sophomores Christine Weber and Caitlin Concannon for an offensive boost. Coyne expects sophomore Morgan McDonnell, who sat out her freshman season due to injury, and freshman Ioanna Mantzouratos to have an immediate impact on the attack after having standout fall seasons.
“I think the biggest difference between this year and last year is that we have two really solid, more natural, feeders who can hit people on the inside,” said Coyne. “As a group, they all do something a little different that really changes up the dynamic and makes us more dangerous as a team.”
MORE IN THE MIDDLE: The GW midfield will feature a mix of returning and new players, highlighted by senior co-captain Brooke Sands. Sands saw action in all 16 games last season, making 12 starts, and tallied 20 points (7g, 13a) on the year.
Assisting Sands in the middle will be sophomores Aidan Cage, Katie Quinn, and Caroline Kiernan. Kiernan had a standout freshman campaign and earned Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team honors after grabbing 47 draw controls in 2017, a mark that ranks seventh-most by a Colonial in a season and second on GW’s all-time freshman records list. Joining the returners will be freshmen Abby Carlin and Sarah Adams.
“We have a lot of experience in the midfield, said Coyne. “Brooke Sands is going to lead the way; she’s our best all-around midi. The rest of them will give us some good solid depth and the ability to control the game on and off the ball.”
DEPTH IN DEFENSE: The Colonials will rely heavily on a core of returners to anchor the team on the defensive end. Bridget Cassidy, the lone junior on the squad, will team up with sophomores Posie Paoletta and Caroline Esmond to provide a strong GW defense. Cassie Scandalios will bring fresh experience to the field as well after a solid performance in the fall.
“Although we lost Becca Taub, we have a good core nucleus back this season,” said Coyne. “Our defense was the best I’ve seen this fall since I started working here, so I expect us to challenge our opponents this season.”
GREAT GOALTENDING: A cornerstone in the cage, Adele Wise enters her senior season ranking third all-time at GW with 268 career saves and with 1,725 minutes played between the pipes. Freshmen Jenna Oler and Alexa Solomon got plenty of playing time in the fall while Wise sat out due to injury and will challenge the senior mainstay for the starting spot in goal.
“The freshmen got a lot of playing time in the fall, which is definitely to our advantage,” said Coyne. “I think goaltending is going to be the best it’s ever been since I’ve been here.”
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