The Marist Women's Lacrosse team will open its 2013 season on Saturday, Feb. 16th with a road trip to Easton, Pa. and a meeting with the Lafayette Leopards of the Patriot League. This will be the first of 17 games for the Red Foxes and third-year head coach, Jessica O'Brien. As hosts of the 2013 MAAC Championships at Tenney Stadium, Marist will look to earn its second consecutive berth in the event.
Who's Back ...
Miller and junior Jamie Romano (Kings Park, N.Y.) tied for the team lead in goals last season along with graduated senior, Ariel Kramer. One of six returning Red Foxes, who earned All-MAAC Second Team honors in 2012, Tuck comes into her senior season with 50 career points, as she has consistently scored between 15 and 18 points per year.
Marist will look to replace the production of Kramer and her six fellow 2012 graduates with a group of talented underclassmen. Sophomores Emily Leonard and Kristen Viscount will have the opportunity to build off of promising freshman campaigns.
While the Red Foxes aim to improve on the offensive side, Casiano will provide stability in goal. A starter in all 17 games for Marist in 2012, Casiano finished the year third in the MAAC in save percentage at .442.
In front of Casiano will be a defensive unit made up entirely of returning starters. Seniors Jessica Irvine (Hauppauge, N.Y.) and Laura Lucchesi (Syracuse, N.Y.) will once again combine with sophomores Christine Astarita (Kennett Square, Pa) and Sheri Fauvell (Moorestown, N.J.) to form one of the MAAC's more formidable defenses.
Two significant storylines to watch on the defensive side of the ball are the return of 2011 First-Team All-MAAC defender Bailey Knapton (Canandaigua, N.Y.) from injury and the exponential growth by sophomore Tina Pumo (Oceanside, N.Y.), who Coach O'Brien foresees stepping up into important roles after a strong preseason and showing glimpses of her potential as a freshman.
Freshmen To Watch ...
The 2013 recruiting class features six incoming freshmen. Allison Gionta (Eastport, N.Y.), Kara McHugh (Madison, Conn.), Kaitlyn Brown (Port Washington, N.Y.) and Brittany Tricarico (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) highlight the class as players, whom the coaching staff envision playing important minutes and adding depth that will be essential to the Red Foxes' success in 2013.
After established and decorated high school careers, Gionta, McHugh and Brown will look to serve as facilitators and goal scorers, while Tricarico will hone in on the defensive side of the ball.
Coach's Expectations ...
"This team has an entirely new attitude and demeanor than in years past. They're out to prove something every day and they speak with their actions on the field" says O'Brien. "Our captains and upperclassmen are doing a great job integrating our younger talent, which in turn is giving us a better team. We're looking forward to kicking off our season against Lafayette and Colgate, knowing they have some great returners to their programs but we also know our own capabilities and strengths on the field."
The Marist season begins on Feb. 16 and their 17-game season finishes up with a road contest against Canisus on Saturday, Apr. 27. Marist will then host the conference tournament in the final weekend of April.
After seeking to avenge last year's overtime loss to Lafayette, Marist will open their home campaign on Tuesday, Feb. 19 against Colgate. The Red Foxes out-of-conference schedule features several contests against in-state rivals, Hofstra, Binghamton and Stony Brook.
The conference schedule kicks off on Saturday, March 30 as Marist welcomes Niagara. Marist will play five out of their final eight games at Tenney Stadium as they gear up to host the MAAC conference tournament.
After reaching the MAAC Semifinals in 2012 and being selected to finish third in the preseason MAAC standings, Marist has their sights on winning a conference championship on their home turf.