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Veterans lead AU women's lacrosse team
3/09/12

With five of its top goal-scorers returning, the AU women’s lacrosse team will try to overcome the loss of attacker Michelle Adams, one of the top offensive players in the history of the program.

It won’t be easy replacing Adams (34 points on 28 goals and six assists in 2011) and attacker Elyse Caldwell (30, 18G, 12A), the other offensive threat from last year’s team lost to graduation. But head coach Samantha Patton has some talented performers ready to step up and fill the void as the Saxons seek to improve on a 2-11 overall record (0-8 Empire 8).

Among the key returnees is sophomore midfielder Ashley White. White tallied 29 points on 20 goals and nine assists (both second on the team), while scooping up 23 groundballs. She provides a strong offensive presence at the midfield to complement a talented attacking line.

Also returning is junior attacker Ali Garcia, who as a midfielder in 2011 scored 22 points (fourth on the team) on 16 goals and six assists. Junior Devin Fitzgerald - who had seven goals and six assists to go with 16 groundballs a season ago - also moves from midfield to attack. Senior Emily Crosby (one goal, two assists), and freshman Kaitlyn Button are candidates to round out the starting attack. Freshman Maria Bentley provides depth on the front line.

With Fitzgerald and Garcia moving to attack, White and junior Tracie McGinnity (starter each of her two previous years) will anchor the midfield. McGinnity is a solid scorer, having finished fifth on the team in points last year with 20 (13 goals, seven assists). Her 25 groundballs were tops among attackers and midfielders and she also caused 11 turnovers.

Sophomore Janelle Gallipeau, a starter at defense as a freshman in 2011, when she had four goals and an assist to go with 28 groundballs and 14 caused turnovers (both second on the team) may move to midfielder this season.

Adding depth to the midfield will be senior Molly Finnerty, a four-year letterwinning soccer player for the Saxons who is playing her first season of lacrosse at AU.

Senior Hannah Scott will start on defense for a fourth year. A two-time Empire 8 all-star, she joined White and Caldwell as honorable mention all-conference selections a season ago after leading AU in groundballs with 30 and in caused turnovers with 15.

If Gallipeau does move to the midfield, Scott and senior Molly Sullivan will be the two returning starters on defense. Sullivan started in all 13 games last season and finished with 13 groundballs and nine caused turnovers. Looking to join Scott and Sullivan as starting defenders are sophomore Lynn-Marie Veverka (a midfielder in 2011) and freshman Haley Nannig. Veverka played in six games last year and had one groundball.

Adding depth to the defense will be sophomore Rebecca Spitz and freshman Mallory Miller.

Freshman Taylor Tarajos is the only goalkeeper on the roster and will replace departed four-year starter Kate Baughman (.404 save percentage in 2011).

The Saxons will look to limit opponents scoring opportunities while working for better offensive possessions of their own. AU was outshot 442-260 and outscored 192-109 in 2011.