Women's Lacrosse Tested Early in 2008, Opens With No. 11 Georgetown Wednesday
Feb. 18, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC - Defending Atlantic 10 regular-season co-champion George Washington women's lacrosse opens the 2008 season by hosting nationally ranked programs Georgetown and Johns Hopkins at Mount Vernon Athletic Complex. The Colonials, led by first-year head coach Tara Hannaford, battle the 11th-ranked Hoyas in both teams' season opener Wednesday at 3:30 pm.
GW hosts Georgetown for the first time in the program's seven-year history Wednesday afternoon. No. 11 Georgetown beat GW, 18-7, in the initial series meeting last April. The Colonials will also seek their first win in six meetings against Johns Hopkins on Feb. 26. The Blue Jays, ranked ninth in Lacrosse Magazine's preseason Top 20, topped the Colonials, 13-7, in both teams' season opener last spring.
GW, which along with Duquesne was picked to finish fourth in the A-10 preseason coaches' poll, returns 17 players and nine starters from a 2007 squad that made the deepest postseason run in program history.
2008 GW Women's Lacrosse Season Preview
The 2007 season was filled with firsts for the George Washington women's lacrosse team. The Colonials captured their first regular season Atlantic 10 title, splitting the crown with Richmond, in just the program's sixth season. GW also posted its first A-10 Championship victory by topping St. Bonaventure, 15-9, to advance to its first conference championship game.
Firsts also are abound for GW entering the 2008 campaign, as first-year head coach Tara Hannaford will look to build upon the success of last spring and guide the Colonials to their first NCAA Tournament bid.
Fortunately for Hannaford, the 2008 season will be all but a first for most of her team's roster. The Colonials return 17 players and nine starters from last year's 11-7 team that reeled off a program-record six consecutive conference victories en route to a share of the league's regular-season title. "The team got a taste of success last year and now knows what it takes to achieve that success. We want to build upon last year, so we're working harder to get back to the A-10 Championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament."
Senior team captains Katelyn Honeyford, Kristin Karcsh and Caitlin Garman have been entrusted to guide the Colonials' experienced lineup for 2008. Honeyford, who became GW's first All-Region player with a second team All-South nod last year, and three-year starting goalkeeper Garman will lead the defense.
Honeyford led GW in ground balls and caused turnovers despite missing four games with a knee injury last fall. The defender also added 17 goals and five assists to earn first team All-Atlantic 10 accolades.
Garman had all 11 wins and 135 saves for the Colonials in 2007 and has 25 of the programs' 30 victories the past three seasons. A heady goalkeeper, Garman also thrives off the field, earning ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District and A-10 Academic All-Conference honors last spring.
One of the A-10's best all-around players, Karcsh once again will anchor the Colonials midfield. The team's leading scorer with 45 goals and 67 points last season, Karcsh is GW's main offensive option and has focused on improving her defense heading into her final season with the Buff and Blue.
Alongside Honeyford in defense is junior Katie Lilly and sophomores Laura Dominiak and Kelsey Honeyford, Katelyn's younger sister. Lilly and Dominiak started all 18 games for the Colonials in 2007, combining for 64 ground balls and 34 caused turnovers along a veteran backline that featured a pair of four-year starters in Molly Gannon and Kim Andreola. Honeyford appeared in 15 games, including starts in the A-10 Championship against St. Bonaventure and Richmond. Freshman Morgan Appel, a two-time second team all-county pick at Maryland's Pikesville High, also will vie for time in defense.
GW did not lose any key players from its midfield and added four solid options from its six-player recruiting class. Senior Hayley McDonough and juniors Katherine Sampson and Meghan Cratty join Karcsh as leaders in the middle. The trio combined for 40 starts and 47 goals last spring, paced by Sampson's 25 goals. Sophomore Taylor Donohue made a big splash in her first season, tying for third on the team with 25 goals to earn A-10 All-Rookie Team honors. Donohue was named to the A-10 All-Championship team after scoring a team-high 10 points in the tournament's two games.
Junior Alaska Burr, who had a breakout season last spring, winning 21 ground balls and forcing nine turnovers, is expected to see the bulk of the action in defensive midfield in 2008. Sophomore Meghan Ottolini and rookies Audrey Joy and Lauren and Kristin Mobyed add depth to Hannaford's midfield.
Senior Lindsay Melvin and Laura Wunk are expected to set the tone of the Colonials' attack in 2008. Both players set career-highs in scoring last season and will need to step up to replace now graduated Kristina Harvey, who was GW's second leading scorer in 2007. Melvin and Wunk are both of the Harvey mold - quick and explosive players who bring energy to the offense. Also expected to have an impact up front are sophomores Mia Breheny, Katelyn Langs and Monica Breslin. Breheny is a quick, shify attacker who averaged 35 points in three seasons at nearby Bishop Ireton High.
GW will be tested immediately when it opens the 2008 season hosting perennial Top 20 programs Georgetown and Johns Hopkins. The Colonials play five of their next six on the road, traveling to battle three Colonial Athletic Association teams (Drexel, George Mason, Towson) and a pair of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation programs (Saint Mary's (CA) and California). GW hosts four of its seven conference games, highlighted by key showdowns against Temple on April 11 and defending conference champion Richmond on April 16. The Colonials also host nationally ranked Denver at Mount Vernon Field on April 13. GW looks to make its second consecutive trip, third overall, to the A-10 Championship, which will take place at Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, April 25 and 27.