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2007 Elizabethtown College
In 2006, the Elizabethtown College women’s lacrosse program, in just its fifth year of existence, reached the postseason for the first time. After going 5-5 in the Middle Atlantic Conference during the regular season – including a 3-1 mark in the Blue Jays’ last four conference games – Elizabethtown clinched the sixth seed in the MAC playoffs and fell on the road to third seeded Lycoming College, 12-7, in the quarterfinals.
That experience has left the upperclass members of the 2007 team hungry for more, and that attitude has rubbed off upon the Blue Jays’ substantial class of first-year students, according to Etown head coach Mike Faith. “They definitely want to make it back,” he said, “and the first-years are motivated as well. They want to make it to at least the second round this time.”
The first-year students, of which there are nine, “will play a big role because we are such a small group,” Faith said. There are 20 players total on the roster, making 45% of the team newcomers to collegiate lacrosse. For them, he continued, “they are very talented, and it will be a matter of picking up the pace and intensity of the college game.”
The Blue Jays also have seven sophomores, three juniors, and just one senior. Although Elizabethtown is a very young team this year, it is also unusually experienced for a team so young. The 2006 Blue Jays were, amazingly, even younger with 10 first-years and three sophomores on a roster of 18, and as a result all of the returning players in 2007 were significant contributors from last year.
A substantial portion of the 2007 team’s veterans can be found on the defensive end of the field. Right now, senior co-captain Jenna Brown (West Chester, PA/Penncrest) and junior Amanda Reid (Nazareth, PA/Nazareth Area) form “the rock of our defense,” according to Faith. Also, the Blue Jays are awaiting the return of junior defender Kim Chuba (Wrightstown, NJ/Northern Burlington Regional) and sophomore defender Dana Simmons (Flourtown, PA/Plymouth-Whitemarsh) from injury. In the goal, Jenn Hawkins (Havre de Grace, MD/Havre de Grace) comes back “much more mature and ready to lead the defense as a sophomore,” Faith said.
Last year, Brown started all but one game, totaled 25 ground balls, had nine draw controls, seven caused turnovers and one assist from the backfield. Reid, who is also a starter for the basketball team, started all but one game last year and was third on the team in ground balls with 35, led the team in caused turnovers with 21, and had six draw controls in 2006. Chuba had four ground balls, a caused turnover and a draw control in eight games and five starts last year, and Simmons scored one goal, had ten ground balls, three caused turnovers and two draw controls in nine games and eight starts in 2006. Hawkins was thrown directly into the starting job in the net as a first-year student and wound up playing every minute of every game with 182 saves, a 10.47 goals against average and a save percentage of .506, the best GAA and best save percentage for a season in the history of the program.
Also joining the defense are three first-year students, Caitlin Russell (White Hall, MD/North Harford), Brittany Paulshock (Forest Hill, MD/C. Milton Wright) and Kayla Snyder (Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin East), as well as a first-year goaltender, Becca Watkins (Herndon, VA/Westfield), who was an all-district honoree in high school. As Chuba and Simmons return, and as the first-year students work their way into the Blue Jays’ system and gain experience, Faith noted that “the defense will be really good by the end of the season.”
The midfield, which consists entirely of sophomores and first-year students, is surprisingly experienced. “The sophomores gained a lot of experience last year,” Faith said, “and they don’t play like sophomores, more like juniors.” Leading that group is sophomore Anna Ford (Salisbury, MD/Homeschooled), who has already been made a co-captain. Also back from last year are sophomores Lyndsey Reeve (Turnersville, NJ/Washington Twp.) and Danielle Schaffer (Marmora, NJ/Ocean City). Last year, Ford played in all 17 games, started three, and totaled three goals, four assists, seven points, 18 ground balls, 16 draw controls and 11 caused turnovers. Reeve played in every game, started 10, and totaled three goals, one assists, four points, 22 ground balls, seven draw controls and six caused turnovers. Schaffer appeared in every game and totaled two goals, one assist, three points, 17 ground balls, 10 draw controls and six caused turnovers.
Joining the three sophomores in the midfield are three first-year students: Katie Caprinolo (Jarrettsville, MD/North Harford), Carly Goetting (Point Pleasant, NJ/Point Pleasant Borough) and Stephanie Kreis (Bel Air, MD/John Carroll School).
On the attack, Elizabethtown returns three players: sophomore All-Commonwealth Conference honoree Katie Foley (Palmyra, NJ/Holy Cross), junior Sarah Gilson (Ocean View, NJ/Ocean City) and sophomore Kelsea Kozak (Brookhaven, PA/Sun Valley), who moves to the attack this year after playing in the midfield in 2006. The Blue Jays also bring in two first-year students: Megan Byrnes (Lutherville, MD/Towson) and Alisha Sangrey (Columbia, PA/Hempfield).
According to Faith, the 2007 Blue Jays will be a very offensive-minded team. “The strength of our team is our attack,” he said. “Midfielders will attack, and we can create unsettled moments in settled situations.”
Last year, Foley led the team in goals as a rookie with 40, and she had 14 assists, 54 points, a team-best total of 40 ground balls, 23 draw controls and 15 caused turnovers. Gilson started every game and had 18 goals, seven assists, 25 points, 15 ground balls, two draw controls and seven caused turnovers in 2006. Kozak played in every game and started two in the midfield as a rookie, and she totaled one goal, one assist, two points, seven ground balls, three draw controls and three caused turnovers.Elizabethtown’s fortunes have risen steadily over the past few seasons, and it seems likely that rise will continue under the efforts of a young 2007 team.