Welcome to the A-10: 2014 Mason women's lacrosse

A look into the 2014 women's lacrosse season as Mason enters the A-10 conference (photo courtesy of atlantic10.com).
A look into the 2014 women's lacrosse season as Mason enters the A-10 conference (photo courtesy of atlantic10.com).

Despite snowy conditions and bitter cold, the Mason women’s lacrosse team opened play last week against the University of California, Davis, losing 9-8. They followed up their season opener with another one point defeat, this time served by Winthrop.

Picked to finish fifth in their first season as a member of the Atlantic 10, here is a quick rundown of each team, key players and games vs. the Patriots over the coming months:

1.       Massachusetts (18-3; 7-0 A-10 in 2013)

The Minutewomen are once again the team to beat in the A-10 this season, as they are now the five-time defending conference champs. Already 3-0 this season with victories over Vanderbilt, Connecticut and Holy Cross, UMass’ potent attack has been the top storyline. In those three games, the Minutewomen almost have as many goals (32) as opponents do shots (43). Kelly Farris, a two-time All-American who was selected to the Preseason All-America Third-Team last month, has eight goals and 10 assists while Melissa Carelli has six goals on as many shots. Defending the UMass net is Rachel Vallarelli who has stopped 15 of 29 attempted shots on her.

Game vs. Mason: 04/13 at Massachusetts

2.       Duquesne (11-7; 5-2 A-10 in 2013)

While the Dukes proved to be the most improved team in the A-10 last season, their non-conference schedule was overwhelming. Facing four top-25 teams, Duquesne lost every single one and only a 10-8 loss to then-No. 9 Norte Dame was a game that could be described as competitive at final whistle. Amanda Kidder is the player to watch this season, as the Dukes’ top point producer (63) from 2013 had five goals in the season opener vs. Howard. Senior goalie Kristen Gregory also returns after starting all 18 games last season.

Game vs. Mason: 04/06 at Mason

3.       George Washington (9-8; 4-3 A-10 in 2013)

The Colonials also return their top offensive player in Jamie Bumgardner (18 goals, 39 assists), but will have a large hole in production around the opponent’s net, as 40-goal scorer Nicole Lacey graduated last May. Defensively, Jenn Seitz (14 caused turnovers) is the top returnee as new goalie Mackenzie Jones is replacing Jess Hicks.

Game vs. Mason: 04/18 at George Washington

4.       Richmond (7-10; 4-3 A-10 in 2013)

The Spiders sprinkle five new players into the starting lineup this season along with six returners. How quickly they jell as a unit will depend on who fills the void left behind by the top three point producers last season. Richmond opened last season with a gauntlet of Atlantic Coast Conference teams (No. 4 Maryland, No. 7 Duke, No 5. UNC and No. 8 UVA) followed by matchups against then-No. 19’s Navy and Towson. In conference play, they also faced a ranked UMass team twice, losing the backend in double overtime. They opened the 2014 season last week against unranked Liberty, but head north in the coming days to face Maryland and UVA once again. A telling sign of who they trust more in goal (Emily Boyce and Michaela Aymony split time in net last season and have so far in three games this season as well) could be who starts those games.

Game vs. Mason: 04/11 at Richmond

5.       Mason (5-11; 0-7 CAA in 2013)

Coaching the Patriots once again this season is Lauren Hay. Under Hay, Mason women’s lacrosse has won 20 games to include five last season. Offensively, the Patriots lost Allie Hilderbrandt (37 goals, four assists) but will center their attack around senior Rachel Obregon (34 goals, six assists). Defensively, keep an eye on Erin Anderson, the team’s leader in caused turnovers in 2013 (13). Carolina Brouse will take over main goalkeeping duties, as she posted a 3-5 record and .437 save percentage last season.

6.       La Salle (10-6; 2-5 A-10 in 2013)

The Explorers got off to a hot start in 2013, running through the non-conference schedule to the tune of an 8-1 record. They ran into a buzz saw, however, in the form of experienced A-10 foes. Out of the gates quickly again this season, La Salle is led offensively by Claire Andrews (seven goals, four assists) and Caitlyn Brostrand (eight goals). Freshman goalie Gabby Antonelli has had little growing pains in her first collegiate season, as she has the best save percentage in the conference (.600) and won Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Game vs. Mason: 04/27 at Mason

7.       St. Joseph’s (8-8; 2-5 A-10 in 2013)

The Hawks started 2013 5-1 before cooling off and finishing the season at .500. The senior-laden team is led by Val Paolucci (26 goals), Abby Ananian (14 assists) and Brittney Hanrahan (17 caused turnovers). In goal once again is Genevieve Giblin. The sophomore posted a 7-8 record and .399 save percentage in 2013.

Game vs. Mason: 04/25 at Mason

8.       St. Bonaventure’s (6-11; 0-7 A-10 in 2013)

Rounding out the conference are the Bonnies who went winless in conference play for the second straight season. With a clear talent deficiency, St. Bonaventure’s was outscored by 57 in the first half of games last season. Looking for their first conference win since April 2012, St. Bonaventure’s is comprised mostly of freshman (nine). While mystery will define the Bonnies in the field with so much inexperience, there is nothing unknown about goalie Sara Schlagenhauf who has 26 appearances under her belt.

Game vs. Mason: 04/04 at St. Bonaventure’s


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