Washington College Women's Lacrosse Season Preview (Video)

CHESTERTOWN, MD -- With 21 of 22 players, including 11 of 12 starters, returning from last year's breakthrough season, there is more than enough reason for optimism for the 2012 Washington College women's lacrosse team. After finishing 2011 with their best record since 2003 at 11-6 and reaching the Centennial Conference Tournament for the first time since that same year, the Shorewomen are poised to continue their rise this season.

Team captains Ann Eickelberg (Amityville, NY/St. John the Baptist), Brooke Paulshock (Forest Hill, MD/C. Milton Wright), and Caroline Stanley (Freeland, MD/Hereford) comprise half of the Shorewomen's six-member senior class. Paulshock, a defender, was an All-Centennial Conference selection two years ago and recorded 18 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers while starting every game in 2011. Stanley, another defender, also started every game last season while finishing with 17 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers. Eickelberg, a midfielder and defender, scored an efficient seven goals on 15 shots as one of the Shorewomen's top reserves a year ago.

Midfielder Rachel Bartee (Mount Airy, MD/South Carroll) and attackers Kalli Parrish (Timonium, MD/McDonogh School) and Liza Twilley (Salisbury, MD/Salisbury School) complete the senior class. Bartee was named the team's Most Valuable Player in 2011, finishing second on the team in goals (30), draw controls (31), and caused turnovers (17) and recording 23 ground balls while starting all 17 games. Parrish made four starts while playing in all 17 games and scored 24 goals, while Twilley scored 11 goals while making one start in 15 games played in 2011.

Junior attacker Corinne Ziccardi (Baltimore, MD/Loch Raven) led the Shorewomen with 31 goals and 42 total points and finished second on the team with 11 assists while making 15 starts in 17 games in 2011. Classmates Mollie Shipley (Denville, NJ/Morris Catholic) and Marissa Restaino (Media, PA/Penncrest), both midfielders, also ranked among last year's top scorers. Shipley, a 2010 All-Centennial Conference honorable mention, scored 13 goals, handed out four assists, and recorded 22 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers while making 14 starts in 17 games in 2011. Restaino, meanwhile, finished third on the team in ground balls (28) and draw controls (25), scored 11 goals, and assisted on four others while starting 16 of 17 games.

Another junior, Stephanie Seibert (Clear Spring, MD/Mercersburg Academy ), played every second in goal for the Shorewomen last season and led the Centennial Conference in saves per game with 7.88. Junior defender Katie Rogers (Annapolis, MD/Elizabeth Seton), meanwhile, made five starts in 15 games and recorded 10 caused turnovers a year ago. Midfielders Olivia Hanley (Phoenix, MD/Dulaney), who scored four goals and had one assist in seven games in 2011, and Kathleen Larkin (Huntington, NY/St. Anthony's), who appeared in three games, complete the Shorewmen's junior class.

The Shorewomen return four sophomores who were in the starting line-up as freshmen. Midfielder Carly Eisenbrandt (Baltimore, MD/Towson) finished third on the team in goals (26), assists (10), and points (36) while making 16 starts in 17 games. Defender Meredith Callis (Baltimore, MD/Roland Park Country School) led the Shorewomen in both ground balls (34) and caused turnovers (28) and recorded 16 draw controls as a freshman. Midfielder Chelsea Spector (Stevensville, MD/Kent Island) took the majority of the Shorewomen's draws last season and tallied a team-best 37 draw controls while making 14 starts in 16 games, while defender and midfielder Kathleen Maleski (Mount Airy, MD/South Carroll) scored six goals, tallied 15 caused turnovers, and picked up 19 ground balls while starting all 17 games.

Four other sophomores - attack/goalie Rachelle Martinez (Silver Spring, MD/Northwood), attack/midfielder Laura Nicely (Baltimore, MD/Institute of Notre Dame), and defenders Sydney Slavin (Timonium, MD/Dulaney) and Jillian Undem (Bel Air, MD/Fallston) received limited playing time a year ago, but could see increased roles this season. Slavin and Nicley each scored two goals in 2011.

Attacker Hillary Wagonhurst (Lutherville, MD/Nortre Dame Prep) joins the sophomore class after transferring from the University of Cincinnati, where she was a member of the lacrosse team as a freshman, but did not play due to injury. The Shorewomen also have six freshmen on the roster this spring - attackers Caroline Lovett (Lancaster, PA/Penn Manor) and Catherine Stanley (Freeland, MD/Hereford), midfielder Liz Godorov (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill West), midfielder/defender Emily Hubley (West Chester, PA/Bayard Rustin), and defenders Brie Van Veldhuisen (Washington, NJ/Voorhees) and Julia Zimm (Manhasset, NY/Manhasset) - to give Washington one of its deepest teams ever.

Head coach Julika Blankenship, the reigning Centennial Conference Coach of the Year, returns for her fourth season at the helm of the Shorewomen. Senior assistant coach Heidi Pearce Yetman also returns. Assistant coach Juli Liebig, who was a standout goalie at Division I Longwood, is the new addition to the coaching staff.

The Shorewomen open their season March 3rd at Rowan University and will play their home opener March 17th against Randolph-Macon. Additional non-conference opponents include St. Mary's College of Maryland, Montclair State, Virginia Wesleyan, and Elizabethtown. Centennial Conference play begins with a home date against five-time reigning conference champion Franklin & Marshall March 24th.
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