The William Smith lacrosse team will begin the 2012 season when it hosts Nazareth on Boswell Field at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 3. The Herons return 14 players from last year’s roster and welcome eight first-years to the squad.
The Herons come into the new season hungry and ready to improve on 2011’s 6-9 overall record and 4-4 mark in conference play. Last season William Smith had three one-goal losses, and two more games which were decided by two and three goals, respectively. The Herons have their sights set on advancing to the Liberty League tournament and making a statement in postseason play.
The Herons lost only two seniors to graduation, Kara Grogan ’11 and Cassie Findlay ’11. This year, the Herons return four All-Liberty League honorees as well as three of their top five scorers from last season. William Smith also welcomes back second year captains, seniors Callie Frelinghuysen and Megan Brophy.
Here’s a position by position look at this year’s Herons.
William Smith returns three veterans at attack, seniors Rosie Scheibel, Lucy Johnson and Christine Abramo. Scheibel played in all 15 games last spring and led the Herons with 32 goals and chipped in two assists. She produced five-goal performances against St. John Fisher and Clarkson. Scheibel notched the game-winners against St. Lawrence and Rochester. Scheibel has picked up right where she left off last season, and has shown tremendous growth in the preseason. Johnson, an All-Liberty League second team pick, led the Herons last spring with 43 points on 30 goals and 13 assists. She scored the game-winner in a 10-9 victory over Messiah to win the 2011 Lindley Tournament. Johnson recorded a season-high five points in a 17-16 win over Vassar, and posted four 4-point games. She also ranked first on the team with 48 ground balls, 37 draw controls and added 19 caused turnovers.
Abramo will also be back in the mix for the William Smith offense. She saw time in three games last season, and has shown great improvement in preseason practices. The Heron offense will look to Abramo to make an impact with increased playing time this spring.
First-years Katie Sipple and Megan Robson will look to make immediate contributions on the offensive end.
William Smith returns a strong group of players at the midfield position. Frelinghuysen and senior Kathryn Gillan, will be the leaders. They both have the ability to run the whole field. An All-Liberty League honorable mention selection, Frelinghuysen caused a team-high 24 turnovers and was second on the team with 35 ground balls. Offensively, she notched 10 goals and seven assists. Gillan, who also garnered All-Liberty League honorable mention in 2011, started all 14 games she played in last spring. She scooped up 29 ground balls, won 28 draw controls and caused 10 turnovers. In addition, she contributed 12 goals and three assists.
Senior Kathleen Ragan, junior Katie Dexter and junior Liz Seidel bring even more experience for William Smith. Ragan started all 14 games she played in and ranked third on the team with 30 ground balls. She also made an impact offensively, producing 20 goals and 10 assists. Dexter saw time in all 15 games, starting 11. She recorded 18 ground balls, 24 draw controls and 16 caused turnovers. Dexter chipped in six goals and an assist. Seidel will be a strong force for the Herons this year after suffering an injury early last spring that forced her to sit out the majority of the season.
Sophomore Hannah Schickel will be another contender at midfield having played in all 15 games last year. The Herons’ depth at midfield will allow for the first-years, Abbie West, Hayley Braun and Molly McElgunn, to come in to play specialty roles as they grow and mature and adjust to the college game.
An All-Liberty League second team honoree, Brophy returns as the defensive leader for William Smith. She started all 15 games in 2011, grabbing 13 ground balls and causing 15 turnovers. Sophomore Micailah Adee returns after starting every game in her rookie season. She played a specialist role on defense last year and is expected to step up and play an even bigger role on the Heron defense this season. Junior Megan Marra will also be back for William Smith after playing in eight games last year.
First-years Taylor Anderson, Rachel Hughes and Cat Gorman are formidable defenders that have the potential to be a solid part of the William Smith defensive unit.
Sophomore Maggie McNair is back in goal for the second season. In her rookie campaign, she saw time in eight games. McNair is focused and working hard. She will be backed up by sophomore Rachel Fippinger who has made the transition from being a field player to goalie.
After taking on the Golden Flyers, the Herons will head to Orlando, Fla., where they will play two games over spring break. William Smith will square off with Williams on March 19, and then take on No. 16 Amherst on March 22. The Herons will begin conference play when they host Vassar on Boswell Field on March 30. The William Smith schedule features two other teams ranked in the IWLCA Division III Poll. No. 3 Cortland and No. 7 Hamilton are also slated to come to Geneva later this spring.