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Feb. 3, 2015 — NCAA Division III preview: The last ride

AL’S FEARLESS 5IVE

Amherst
Gettysburg
Middlebury

Salisbury
Trinity

The 2015 women’s lacrosse season will be the final one for Hall-of-Fame coach Missy Foote of Middlebury. The Panthers, mindful of a close loss in the quarterfinal round of last year’s tournament, will be looking to make their own luck in 2015. Laurel Pascal (52 goals, 5 assists) was last year’s leading scorer as a sophomore. Catherine Fowler and and Maggie Caputo will return on defense, but with the graduation of goalie Alyssa Palomba, the team is hoping for a good quarterback an organizer of Middlebury’s vaunted zone defense.

The team that beat Middlebury in last year’s NCAA tournament was Gettysburg. The Bullets return seniors Mandy Buell (45-20) and Bridget Kenny (47-13), as well as defenders Macauley Mikes, Christina Wright, and Emily Tropsa in front of junior goalie Shannon Keeler. Keeler, while in high school, backed up current Northwestern goalie Bridget Bianco.

The defending national champion from Salisbury will also be heard from. Shelby Nemecek (69-6) returns, along with Bethany Baer (48-13), and Kate Haker (40-18). The Gulls also have four experienced close defenders in Dominique DiPino, Laura Maskell, Allison Toomey, and Keiran Kelleher, which will help on the defensive end since the team graduated all but 170 minutes’ worth of experience in goal from last year’s team.

One team looking to rebound from losing to Salisbury in last year’s national semifinals is Amherst. The Jeffs return second-leading scorer Rachel Passarelli (42-11) as well as Meghan Mills (28-5).

I think another team which will contend in the always-competitive New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) is Trinity College. Martha Griffin (42-20), Caroline Hayes (36-13), and Molly Cox (40-4) return. Griffin, Hayes, Claire Lyne, and Lindsay Mullaney form a tremendous draw-control unit in the midfield, and Emily Mooney returns for her junior year at goalie. The Bantams have all the tools to make it back into the title match.

 

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