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Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - page 2

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Season Preview
Women’s lacrosse has sight set
on return to playoffs

Allisyn Vachon
Vachon ranks fourth in Mule history with 384 career saves.
Most of the time when a team is said to be in a transition year it is a kind way of saying the team will be going through some down times.

But the Muhlenberg women's lacrosse team actually hopes the 2011 campaign, which begins tomorrow at home against Manhattanville, is full of transition - transition offense that is.

After falling one game short of their third consecutive Centennial Conference playoff appearance last season, the Mules hope that more focus on using the defense to spark the offense will help lead them back into the postseason.

"Coach has told us that defense may not get all the glory, but it looks really pretty when you start that transition," senior defender Maggie Sullivan said. "We have to always be thinking what we can do with the ball to get it to the offense as quickly as possible so we can take advantage of mismatches. So when we score in transition, we [the defense] feel like we did a great job."

Joining Sullivan on defense is senior Lauren DeCarle,
Christine Van Hise
Van Hise scored a combined six goals on six shots against Potsdam State and Washington last spring.
a three-year letterwinner who leads the team with 74 career ground balls, and sophomore Alexandra Franck, who registered team highs with 40 ground balls and 30 caused turnovers as a freshman.

And while the team will look for the defense to push the tempo to try to create scoring opportunities, getting the ball in the back of the cage will ultimately be the responsibility of the offense, which will be led by senior Danielle Rosen, one of the most dynamic scorers in the conference.

Muhlenberg's lone returning all-conference performer, Rosen tied for the CC lead with 69 points, including a team-high 50 goals, en route to earning second-team honors last season.

She will be joined on the attack by classmate Christine Van Hise (8 goals, 5 assists), junior Kelsey Elmer (9 goals, 3 assists) and sophomores Molly Davin (14 goals, 4 assists) and Alex Bellini (11 goals, 5 assists).

Junior Angela Napoletano should provide scoring support from the midfield after finishing with 13 goals and five assists last season, while juniors Jessica Shegoski and Sarah Hetrick and sophomore Alexandra Gabriele should also challenge for playing time at midfield.

With the Mules looking to push the tempo on offense, the last line of defense will once again be veteran goalie Allisyn Vachon. The senior has started all 45 games during the past three seasons and posted the best goals-against average (10.20) of her career last spring.

Even after losing four starters, including the No. 2 point scorer in school history and two others who each registered at least 30 points last season, DeCarle said she is still very optimistic about the Mules' prospects this spring.

Freshmen may comprise almost 40 percent of the roster, but DeCarle the team has the skill, and more importantly, the chemistry to get back to the playoffs.

"We have a really good click, a really good bond," she said. "We're all sharing the wealth. It's not people playing as individuals; we're all attacking and everyone's playing defense together. We're playing well as a group.

"Getting back to the playoffs is going to take a lot of intensity and a lot of hustle. You've just got to want it, and that's something you can't teach. It's all about the drive that each player has, and I really feel that drive from everyone on the team. I'm very excited to see what we can do this season."

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