2012 Women’s Lacrosse Preview
With their season opener just days away, the Tigers plan on taking things one step at a time. That first step comes Feb. 21, when Oregon comes to Johnny Unitas Stadium for the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Reigning Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year Sonia LaMonica expects the Ducks to push her team from start to finish.
“It’ll be interesting, with Oregon being a team that Towson has never faced before,” LaMonica said. “I know of Oregon to be more of a scrappy team. They come out of the MPSF [Mountain Pacific Sports Federation] and were picked to finish second in that conference. The MPSF has some really strong teams and is developing as a conference, so they’re a team that we cannot overlook.”
The Tigers return plenty of firepower this season, including nine of their top 10 scorers from one year ago.
Ashley Waldron returns as the top goal scorer from 2011, when she found the back of the net 24 times. Sarah Appelt’s 40 points last season was second most on the team and is the highest total of any returning Tiger.
“I’m very optimistic about our offense,” LaMonica said. “We do return a lot of experience and we’ve had a lot of fun with our offense to this date and we’re excited to put a complete game together offensively.”
The defense should be the backbone of Towson’s squad once again, with four-year starting goalkeeper Mary Teeters and defender Alexa Demski headlining a group that’s undergone some transition in the past year.
“Along with Mary, we bring back Alexa, a junior who’s started since her freshman year,” LaMonica said. “They’re two huge anchors for us and our top two defensive players. But they’re surrounded by a lot of talent, despite three starters graduating last year.”
LaMonica said she believes the experience in the defensive unit should mix well with the newcomers to her team, including nine freshmen on the roster this season.
The second-year head coach pointed out that one freshman in particular, Michelle Dufault, has earned a spot in the starting lineup to begin the season and has impressed the coaching staff thus far.
The Tigers had four players named to the Pre-Season All-CAA teams, including Kelly Custer, a player who could have a breakout season in 2012, according to LaMonica.
“I think Kelly is really poised to be a huge contributor for us this year,” LaMonica said. “She played significant minutes last year, but entering her junior year now, she’s really developing and she’s just such an incredible player, particularly on the offensive end.”
Once the opener against Oregon has passed, the Tigers will take on a challenging 15-game schedule, including a regular-season finale matchup on April 22 with defending CAA Champion James Madison.
In the 2011 conference title game, the Dukes stunned Towson 8-6 to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. LaMonica isn’t looking that far ahead, but knows how much goes into winning games at the highest level.
“We don’t focus much on whom we’re playing next week or next month. It’s all about progressing and getting better every day,” LaMonica said. “We learned a lot this past season and we had some growing pains, but that’s all going to serve us well this season. We’ve been able to develop our players. They’ve gotten a better understanding of the system that we’re running here and we’re approaching this season with a renewed sense of confidence. We’re going to take it one day at a time, but I think it’s going to be a very exciting season for us.”