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Women's Lacrosse Kicks Off 2010 Season Saturday at Jacksonville
Goalie Kate Quick earned first-team all-conference in 2009.
The UMBC women’s lacrosse team showed major signs of improvement in 2009, going from just four wins and 154 goals scored to nine victories and 199 tallies.
Nearly 70 percent of that offense is back in 2010, and first-year head coach Kelly Berger has no reason to believe that her veteran-laden squad can’t better those numbers.
Despite the potent attack, Berger believes the Retrievers’ biggest strength can be found in goal, where senior Kate Quick is coming off a season in which she led the America East in save percentage (.483) and allowed just over 10 goals per game en route to first-team all-conference accolades.
“Kate Quick is amazing,” Berger said. “I definitely expect big things from her. She’s one of the top goaltenders in our conference, and she’s gotten so much better even from the fall to the spring because of the people behind her that are pushing her.”
Those players are junior Natalie Rau and freshman Kendall Mason. Rau has seen limited action in her first two years at UMBC, while Mason, a
The Retrievers’ defense allowed 35 less goals in 2009 than the previous season, ranking third in the America East in goals-against average (9.88). That defense will again be anchored by senior captain Sarah Willis, who was named the team’s Unsung Hero at the end of the season after leading UMBC with 32 ground balls.
“Sarah Willis is a phenomenal leader who takes everything on her shoulders and is willing to carry the team with her,” Berger said. “She’s a fighter, definitely someone that you want back there to support your team.”
Junior C.J. Durham caused a team-high 26 turnovers last year, ranking among national leaders, and will be looked upon to support Willis on the back line. Joining them will be sophomore Lauren Mundell, a sophomore transfer from Hofstra, and freshman Jamie Fahey, a local product who has excellent speed and knowledge of the game.
Juniors Meagan Linkous and Kristen Milligan are both defensive-minded midfielders who should help on both ends of the field. Both are coming off injuries but should be ready for the start of the season.
“Linkous is defensive-minded, but I see so much athleticism in her and she learns things so quickly that there’s no reason she shouldn’t be on the attacking end also,” Berger said. “Milligan’s like the glue to the defense. She does the little things that you might not see on paper.”
Despite losing leading scorer Kara Dorr to graduation, Berger believes the 2010 midfield corps will still find the back of the net on a regular basis. “Scoring hopefully won’t be a problem,” the coach said. “We do have a bunch of scorers that can go to goal.”
“Pappas is a really strong athlete who is just as good defensively as she is attacking,” Berger said. “Stodter is as speedy as speedy can be and has an unreal shot.”
Sophomore Bria Phillips is coming off a strong rookie campaign in which she scored 18 goals and 25 points, and Berger expects big things out of her this season.
“Bria is playing the best I’ve ever seen her play lately. She’s rocking it,” she said. “She’s going to goal and she has all the confidence in the world, and she’s also learning how to run the attack when she’s down there.”
Senior captain Amanda Gable is also coming off a solid year with 17 goals and 24 points, and Berger believes she is finally ready for a breakout season in her final go-around in the black and gold.
“She’s an awesome player, very quick, and she just gives all she has out there,” the coach said.
Senior Megan Cook has missed the last season-and-a-half with a knee injury, but is healthy and ready to make her final campaign count. She scored seven goals in nine games before going down in 2008.
“I tell her to take one day at a time, but she does things and kind of amazes us,” Berger said. “It’s definitely fun to watch her progress and really play her senior year the way she wants to.”
A pair of freshmen –
An attacking unit led by junior Erika Braerman and sophomore Emily Coady should not skip a beat despite the loss of three-year starter Abbey Swift and her 36 points in 2009. Coady was a unanimous America East all-rookie team selection after tallying 22 goals and a team-best 13 assists, while the left-handed Braerman was not far behind with 11 helpers.
“Erika Braerman has been playing amazing,” Berger said. “She realizes that she’s an upperclassman now and is stepping up a little bit, which is awesome. And then the quiet Emily Coady that we knew is actually coming out of her shell and becoming a really good voice on the attacking end.”
The coach also expects sophomore Alicia Krause, a transfer who scored 20 goals at Duquesne last season, to make an immediate impact at UMBC. Senior captain Rachel Pincus has battled injuries her entire career but recorded career highs in every category last season, and Berger will rely on her to provide leadership both on and off the field.
“Pincus is always willing to do whatever it takes for the team,” she said. “If we need her for two minutes to go in and relieve someone, she’s all there and she does her job. Off the field also being a captain, the team really looks up to her and I think she’s a great leader.”
The Retrievers have another challenging schedule, with five games against teams that were ranked in the top 20 in the final IWLCA poll last season. The America East schedule begins March 27 at Stony Brook.