CHESTERTOWN, MD -- Coming off its first-ever conference championship game appearance and its second-ever back-to-back seasons of double-digit wins, it's safe to say the Washington College women's lacrosse team has established itself as a top team in the ultra-competitive Centennial Conference. Now, with eight starters and four of their top-five 2012 leading point-getters returning, the Shorewomen are ready to once again challenge for the conference's crown.
The Shorewomen will feature a balanced 22-woman roster this season comprised of six seniors, seven juniors, six sophomores, and three freshmen. Senior attacker Corinne Ziccardi (Baltimore, MD/Loch Raven), senior midfielders Mollie Shipley (Denville, NJ/Morris Catholic) and Marissa Restaino (Media, PA/Penncrest) and senior goalie Stephanie Seibert (Clear Spring, MD/Mercersburg Academy [PA]) are all back for their fourth and final seasons after comprising a third of the team's starting line-up in 2012.
Ziccardi earned All-Centennial Conference first-team honors last spring, leading the Shorewomen in goals with 41 and in points with 57. She was also second on the team with 16 assists while starting 15 of the team's 16 games. Shipley started all 16 games, scoring 20 goals and handing out a team-best 17 assists. She also recorded 25 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers. Restaino, meanwhile, scored four goals, tallied five assists, and had 21 ground balls while making 15 starts in 16 games. Seibert earned All-Centennial Conference second-team and team Most Valuable Player honors with a .423 save percentage and a 10.94 goals-against average to go along with a team-best 41 ground balls in 15 starts.
Rounding out the senior class are defender/midfielder Olivia Hanley (Phoenix, MD/Dulaney) and defender Kathleen Larkin (Huntington, NY/St. Anthony's). Hanley appeared in a career-high 12 games a year ago, while Larkin appeared in two.
Junior midfielder Carly Eisenbrant (Baltimore, MD/Towson), junior defender/midfielder Kathleen Maleski (Mount Airy, MD/South Carroll), and junior defender Meredith Callis (Baltimore, MD/Roland Park Country School) are three more of the Shorewomen's returning starters. Eisenbrant was tabbed as a 2012 All-Centennial Conference honorable mention after scoring 30 goals and assisting on 11 others and starting all 16 games. Maleski had 24 draw controls and 21 ground balls and also started all 16 games, as did Callis, who tallied 23 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers.
Goalie Rachelle Martinez (Silver Spring, MD/Northwood), defender Jillian Undem (Bel Air, MD/Fallston), and attackers Sydney Slavin (Timonium, MD/Dulaney) and Laura Nicely (Baltimore, MD/Institute of Notre Dame) comprise the rest of the Shorewomen's junior class. Martinez, the team's Co-Most Improved Player, made one start in four games in her first season between the pipes in 2012, registering a .459 save percentage. Undem, who shard that Most Improved honor with Martinez, appeared in five games, while Slavin and Nicely played in two games a piece.
Sophomore midfielder Emily Hubley (West Chester, PA/Bayard Rustin) is the Shorewomen's eighth and final returning starter. She was named to the All-Centennial Conference second team as a freshman, scoring 28 goals on just 42 shots. She also led the team with 16 caused turnovers and scooped up 32 ground balls while starting all 16 games. Classmate and fellow midfielder Liz Godorov (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill West) scored a pair of goals in 10 games as a reserve a year ago.
The remainder of the Shorewomen's sophomore class is comprised of attackers Caroline Lovett (Lancaster, PA/Penn Manor) and Catherine Stanley (Freeland, MD/Hereford) and defenders Julia Zimm (Manhasset, NY/Manhasset) and Brie Van Veldhuisen (Washington, NJ/Voorhees). Lovett scored goals on all three of her shots in a pair of games last season, while Stanley saw action in three games. Van Veldhuisen and Zimm each played in two games as freshmen.
Joining the Shorewomen's 19 returning players are three freshmen - attacker Carley Kendall (Harleysville, PA/Souderton Area), midfielder/attacker Erica Hoffman (Laurel Springs, NJ/Sterling), and defender Rachel Kurtz (Sykesville, MD/McDonogh School).
The Shorewomen's coaching staff returns intact as Julika Blankenship is back for her fifth season as head coach and welcomes back senior assistant coach and recruiting and defensive coordinator Heidi Pearce Yetman as well as assistant coach and sports performance coach Juli Liebig. Callis, Eisenbrant, Restaino, Shipley, and Ziccardi will provide leadership on the field as the team's five captains.
Just six of the Shorewomen's 16 games last season were played on their home turf of Kibler Field at Roy Kirby, Jr. Stadium. Washington went 4-2 in those games. This season, the Shorewomen will play 10 of their 16 regular-season games at home, including their first four. Washington opens up the 2013 season against St. Joseph's College of Long Island Monday, February 18th, at 4:00 p.m. Three more 4:00 p.m. home non-conference games follow - March 2nd against Rowan, March 5th against St. Mary's, and March 9th against Shenandiah. Washington will then play Wheaton (MA) March 14th in Clermont, FL, during Spring Break, before returning to host Elizabethtown on March 19th. The Shorewomen will finally play on an opponent's home field March 23rd when they travel to Drew University to close out non-conference play.
Centennial Conference play opens at home March 30th for the Shorewomen against perennial national contender Franklin & Marshall. Washington will travel to defending conference champion Gettysburg College on April 20th. The Shorewomen were picked third in the annual Centennial Conference Preseason Poll as voted on by the conference's head coaches. Gettysburg was first with 80 vote-points, Franklin & Marshall second with 71, the Shorewomen followed with 61. Dickinson (50) and Ursinus (46) rounded out the top five. Swarthmore (44), Haverford (35), McDaniel (34), Muhlenberg (20), and Bryn Mawr (9) completed the poll.