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Women’s lacrosse key seniors look to open eyes in 2011

Bearcats return 11 starters to veteran squad

February 19, 2011


Women’s lacrosse key seniors look to open eyes in 2011

The 2011 edition of the Binghamton women’s lacrosse team, with key seniors at every level, will be looking to move from unproven and inexperienced to mature and competitive. Head Coach Tony Zostant will witness his first recruiting class come to age this season. Six seniors, all playing vital roles for the Bearcats will be the heart and soul of the team.

“First and foremost, we want to be successful and the team has been working on every aspect of their game to overcome last season’s results,” Zostant cited. “The team is very energized and willing to do whatever it takes to increase our chances of success.”

A more experienced and confident group, BU returns 11 starters, will be taking the field this season for Coach Zostant. Of Binghamton’s 151 goals 82 of them came from a senior-to-be. Much like the offensive end, the Bearcats boast veteran leadership on the defensive end and in goal. A quick and alert BU defense picked up 19 ground balls per game, good enough for second in the America East, while Binghamton goalies averaged a conference-best 9.93 saves per game.

“With the experience the senior class brings in this season and losing close games in the past, I believe as a team we will have better results in this season,” Zostant said.

Binghamton, for the first time under Zostant, has a team with senior leadership at every position giving them viable options and the experience that has been lacking in past seasons. Zostant has also taken a creative stance with his 2011 squad, assembling a Leadership Panel opposed to the traditional captains. The panel will be composed of four positions, field leader, academic leader, pride leader and team builder. The combination of key seniors and a very seasoned underclass with solid newcomers, have the Bearcats looking to shake up the conference and turn some heads in 2011.

“Having the seniors in key positions should create a sense of confidence over the entire team,” Zostant continued. “They bring valuable experience and knowledge of the game to practice every day and it shows in our underclassmen.”

ATTACK

The Bearcat attack line has the potential to be one of the best the young program has ever seen, piloted by senior Ali Castiglie. Last season, Castiglie continued her impressive career at Binghamton leading BU in points, scoring 32 goals while handing out 14 assists. For her stellar season, Castiglie was named the America East Fan’s Choice Player of the Year. Joining Castiglie on the attack line will be junior Lis Zuern and sophomore Kimberly McGeever. Zuern finished the 2010 season third on the team in goals with 22, marking the second straight year she eclipsed 20 goals in a season. McGeever had a tremendous freshman campaign earning her a spot on the America East All-Rookie Team. She finished the season with 13 goals and 14 assists. McGeever displayed her playmaking ability in a win over Stony Brook scoring the game-winning goal.

The dynamic group that will ignite the BU offense has Coach Zostant excited about the possibilities. “As an attack unit, we hope to increase assists and spread the goal scoring around better than we have in past years,” Zostant proclaimed. “Having two of our players do most of the scoring is sometimes limiting, so we’ve been focused on having more players being threats.”

Increasing the number of threats will be a viable option for Coach Zostant as there are several capable players in his arsenal. The production of the front line will not be limited to Castiglie, Zuern and McGeever. Supporting the trio will be sophomore Lindsay Angelillo and freshman Brooke Bullock. Angelillo had a solid freshman season, finding the back of the net ten times for the Bearcats. Bullock, the heralded attacker from Snyder, N.Y., demonstrated great heart by coming back from ACL surgery to score three goals in her sectional championship game.

MIDFIELD

An extremely deep midfield will be guided by senior and field leader, Beth Moore. The Bearcats leading goal scorer in 2010, Moore has the ability to be a great scorer and tenacious defender. As BU’s premier midfielder Moore set the single season school record for goals (39) and caused turnovers (25) last year. Securing the middle of the field with Moore will be redshirt-senior Lizzie Wright, BU’s pride leader and sophomore Kristen Stone. The duo of Wright and Stone gave Binghamton quality production on both ends of the field. Wright scored eight goals while picking up 30 ground balls and Stone netted 11 goals and chased down 14 ground balls.

“Beth is an excellent athlete and does a ton of work in the midfield for us,” Zostant said. “We’ve been working with her to increase her field vision so she can be better distributor and all-around player. We believe she will see a lot of defensive doubles during the season, so finding her teammates will be crucial.”

Providing the depth for Binghamton is the third member of the Leadership Panel, senior and team builder Amanda Hughes. Along with Hughes are returners Casey Bulman, Katherine Hunsberger and Allie Sabitus. Newcomers Lena Amalfitano, Samantha Knight and Brittany Stufano will look to have an immediate impact for BU. Hughes, Bulman, Hunsberger and Sabitus all saw pivotal action in 2010 and should be solid contributors again. Amalfitano and Stufano are both transfer students that will look to be in the rotation throughout the season. Knight, a freshman from Clarence, N.Y. will join former high school teammate Kristen Stone as a fellow midfielder providing immediate chemistry at the position.

With depth, experience and fire power on both ends of the field Coach Zostant sees phenomenal upside to his group of midfielders. “Having Katherine Hunsberger back at 100 percent after battling injuries all last season, will really help our middie line,” Zostant mentioned. “She could absolutely surprise some teams out there with her scoring ability.”

DEFENSE

A young defensive line, though the most untested of the three, are quick and active. The Bearcat defense, led by senior and two-time all-conference selection Siobhan Menz, finished second in the conference with 19 ground balls per game. Menz, Binghamton’s first two-time all-conference honoree won a team-high 25 draw controls as she secured 27 ground balls and caused 11 turnovers. Junior Lauren Lukefahr, who has appeared in every game since her career began at BU, will help solidify the back line.

The Bearcats will have to replace departed captain, Erika Travis but the trio of sophomores Zostant has at his disposal are up for the challenge. Isabelle Mahoney, Kristin Pennino and Lindsay Vona all earned minutes last season giving Binghamton much needed depth at the position. Rounding out the defense is freshman standout Erica Foley from Rome, N.Y.
As a unit the back line will work to execute Coach Zostant’s defensive philosophy as they use their speed and skill to become a powerful force.

“I feel that our defense is our most solid unit when they are all on the same page,” Zostant stated. “Menz and Lukefahr have taken their game to another level and I believe they will provide good leadership on the defensive end. I’m looking for Kristin Pennino to have a good year as well, she has worked very hard in the offseason.”

GOALIE

Senior Lauren Scott will return to her usual place between the pipes for the Bearcats in 2011. Scott, the team’s academic leader, was in goal nine times last year, preventing 60 shots and compiling .438 save percentage. Her experience and knowledge in the crease will give Binghamton a formidable force in goal. For her career Scott has appeared in 35 games, amassing 199 saves and over 1,200 minutes.

SCHEDULE

Binghamton will kick off the 2011 campaign with back-to-back road trips to Louisville and Connecticut in the end of February. The Bearcats dropped both games against the two teams last season, falling just short at home to UConn, 16-12. After their modest two game road trip BU returns home to host its next four games over a two week span. Binghamton will welcome the Marist Red Foxes on Wednesday, March 2 and the Niagara Purple Eagles on Friday, March 4. BU will be looking for it’s first-ever win over the Red Foxes while Niagara holds a 4-3 series advantage over Binghamton.

“In preparing for an always tough conference schedule we often end up with two Big East teams which will be good early tests,” Zostant declared. “We as a staff always want to play as challenging a non-conference schedule as possible to prepare us for America East competition.”

The following week brings Canisius and Monmouth to the Bearcats Sports Complex. It will be the eighth meeting all-time with Canisius as BU lost a heartbreaker to the Golden Griffins, 13-11 in Buffalo, N.Y. last year. Monmouth handed Binghamton its second straight tough loss last season, defeating the Bearcats 12-10.

After their four-game home stand, Binghamton will hit the road for its next five games to close out the month of March. The Bearcats travel to Philadelphia, Pa. to take on the Drexel Dragons on March 13 then head to North Carolina to play two games in two days against High Point and Davidson on March 21 and 22. All three games will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Binghamton travels back north when they go to Boston to play its first conference game of the season on March 26. The Bearcats complete their five-game road trip with a game versus Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. on March 29.

“The America East conference is always tough, but with the win over Stony Brook last year and playing Boston in a very competitive game, our players will be very focused on competing every minute of every America East game,” Zostant said. “The team will be ready and is always up to the challenge.”

The final six games of the season will witness Binghamton complete its conference play with a home game with Columbia sprinkled in. The Bearcats earned its second conference victory last season with a 12-10 decision over Stony Brook at home. BU will look to improve on its conference mark with road games against Stony Brook (April 9) and UMBC (April 17). As they host Vermont (April 2), Albany (April 23) and New Hampshire (May 1).

“As a program, we are looking forward to a competitive and successful 2011 season,” Zostant stated. “The seniors are looking to go out on a winning note and I would love for them to experience that feeling. Overall, we’re just very excited to get started in February.”

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