Women's Lacrosse Battles No. 10 Johns Hopkins in Season Opener
Feb. 20, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC - The George Washington women's lacrosse team faces No. 10 Johns Hopkins in its season opener at Baltimore's Homewood Field on Wednesday at 5:00 pm.
GW head coach Chrissy Lombard-Adair, who is entering her third season at the helm of the program, has 16 letterwinners and eight starters back from last year's team which finished 6-11 overall and 2-5 in the Atlantic 10. The Colonials were picked fifth out of eight teams in the preseason Atlantic 10 coaches poll.
GW fell to JHU, 12-8, in its season-opener at Mount Vernon Field last February. The Colonials will be looking for their first win over the Blue Jays in the fifth all-time meeting between the programs. Johns Hopkins, which finished 12-4 in 2006, is ranked tenth in the country in the preseason Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Top 20 poll.
The Colonials also visit Mount St. Mary's on March 1, before playing their home opener against Towson on Wednesday, March 7.
2007 Season Preview
Third-year head coach Chrissy Lombard-Adair has placed the onus on team tri-captains Molly Gannon, Kristina Harvey and Kristin Karcsh to help the Colonials return to the top of the league standings in 2007. Gannon, a senior defender, is GW's most seasoned veteran and will be counted on to be a leader both on and off the field. A second team All-Atlantic 10 performer last season, Gannon already ranks second all-time at GW in caused turnovers and is in the Top 10 in four other categories. Her defensive tenacity and ability to transition in midfield will prove key to the team's success.
Harvey enters her final season of eligibility and second season at GW ready to instill enthusiasm and intensity to the attack. After playing two seasons at Connecticut, Harvey saw her first action for the Buff and Blue last spring, contributing two goals and an assist. However, it's Harvey's hustle and leadership which prompted Lombard to tab her the spearhead of the Colonials' offense this spring.
Karcsh anchored the midfield as a sophomore in 2006, leading the team in ground balls and finishing second in goals and points to earn honorable mention All-A-10 status. Karcsh, Lombard-Adair's most experienced option in the midfield, has already established herself as one of the best all-around lacrosse players in program history and still has two seasons left to guide GW to prominence.
Joining Gannon in defense is senior Kim Andreola and 2006 A-10 All-Rookie teamer Katie Lilly. GW's defensive stalwart, Andreola has started all but one of 44 games during her three-year career, while Lilly made an immediate impact, leading all Colonials' rookies with 21 ground balls and tying a team-high 20 caused turnovers. Newcomers Laura Dominiak and Kelsey Honeyford, a proven winner from New Jersey lacrosse power Moorestown High, round out Lombard-Adair's options at defense.
Junior Katelyn Honeyford will move from defense into the defensive midfield this season to not only take advantage of her lock-down defense, but also her offense. Honeyford has started every game since joining the team in 2005 and added four goals to her team-high tying 20 forced turnovers last spring. Returning to the defensive midfield is senior Sharee Richardson and sophomore Alaska Burr, who combined to play in 13 games in their first seasons at GW in 2006. Speedy rookie Marie Murray and freshman Melanie Pettit also will vie for time as defensive midfielders.
A trio of returnees will assist Karcsh in the midfield, led by junior Hayley McDonough, who has recovered from a nagging stress fracture that hampered her last season. Despite the injury, McDonough, an intelligent, skilled player, still added eight goals and 16 ground balls. Sophomore Meghan Cratty was thrust into a starting role as a rookie in 2006 and thrived, finishing with nine goals, eight assists and 21 draws in 16 games to earn A-10 All-Rookie Team honors. Second-year performer Katherine Sampson also had a solid rookie campaign, leading all freshmen with 11 goals, and will be asked to help on defense as well as attack this year. Adding to the midfield corps is newcomer Katelyn Langs, a quick and aggressive player who won three straight state championships at Chicago's Loyola Academy.
GW's attack will have a different look this season. Laura Hostetler, the program's all-time leading scorer with 153 goals, will not return for her final season due to chronic knee pain. Therefore, the Colonials will look to Harvey and juniors Laura Wunk and Lindsay Melvin to lead the offense. Wunk, who scored 10 goals last spring, gained experience behind Hostetler and senior co-captains Collen Schmidt and Annie Howley the past two seasons and will now be counted on to be one of GW's main scoring threats. Melvin, like Harvey, is a scrappy player and possesses the ability to score in one-on-one situations. Sophomore Emily Sternbach saw action in just three games last year, but has the quickness to get free inside the arc and the skill to finish. Newcomers Mia Breheny, an honorable mention All-American and All-Met performer at nearby Bishop Ireton, Taylor Donohue and Meghan Ottolini complete Lombard-Adair's front line.
The Colonials boast a strong goalkeeping rotation in senior Emily Fortunato and junior Caitlin Garman. Garman saw the bulk of action in 2006, posting 143 stops, including a pair of 17-save efforts, in 16 starts. Fortunato won her 13th career game by making 12 stops at St. Joseph's last April. The duo is ranked first and second at GW in career saves, goals-against-average and record.
GW will prepare itself for league play with a tough non-conference slate, including three teams that finished the 2006 season ranked in the Top 15 in the nation in Johns Hopkins, William & Mary and District-rival Georgetown. The Colonials will face the Hoyas, who advanced to the national quarterfinals and were ranked No. 4 last spring, for the first time on April 20. Atlantic 10 play commences on April 1 at defending champion Richmond, which ended 2006 as the 11th-ranked team in the country. After playing its opening four A-10 games on the road, GW will close conference play with three consecutive home games then head to Temple for the conference championship on May 4 and 6.