For Immediate Release: February 27, 2006
Contact: Anthony G. Naglieri (

2006 Binghamton Women's Lacrosse Season Preview

Beginning a new era under a new head coach is always difficult. Often in such cases, it becomes unfair to judge a team's success on wins and losses alone. The 2005 Binghamton women's lacrosse season is the perfect example.

On paper, it certainly might appear as if head coach Emily Edmonston's arrival failed to make a significant impact. But the story that the Bearcats' 3-12 mark doesn't tell, is one of grit, energy and passion. It's about a new coach taking the reigns of a young program and instilling a new sense of competitiveness and confidence.

Over the last year and a half, Edmonston, along with assistant coach Ashley Manion, have done just that. They have succeeded in bringing stability and direction to the women's lacrosse program, and although a run at the America East crown still may be a couple years off, the Bearcat women's future has never been brighter.

"No matter what, I think the first year is always going to be challenging," emphasized Edmonston. "Without question, this year our comfort level has risen considerably. We are very excited after a strong fall season and are looking forward to getting things underway."

On the strength of several key returnees, including six of their top seven scorers from a year ago, as well as the influx of nine talented newcomers, the Bearcats are poised to continue making strides as a Division I program in '06.

Strong midfield unit leads the way

With a solid mix of experience and youth, the Bearcats' greatest strength, without question, can be found at the midfield position.

The team's lone senior and tri-captain Lauren Wetherell anchors a talented Binghamton unit that will be counted on to lead the team's transition. One of the team's main scoring threats throughout her collegiate career, Wetherell had the 16th highest assists per game average in the nation (1.47apg), handing out more than one-fourth of the Bearcats' total assists (22) in 2005.

"As the only senior, Lauren brings a tremendous amount of perspective to the rest of the team," Edmonston said. "She exhibits incredible intensity on the field and is someone we will look to feature in our offensive sets."

Joining Wetherell in the midfield is fellow captain Lauren Chemotti. Chemotti, who has started every game over the last two years, led the Bearcats with 37 draw controls as a sophomore.

"She has an amazing work ethic," said Edmonston. "When any sort of adversity occurs, she is someone the team can always look to."

Rounding out the unit are a trio of talented youngsters, sophomore phenom Leanne Musso and freshman Kelsey Pieper. Musso will look to build upon a stellar freshman campaign, in which she finished second on the squad with 21 goals and third with 30 points en route to earning America East all-rookie honors. Pieper, a four-year letter winner while at Columbia High School in Rensselaer, N.Y., led her team in scoring during her both junior and senior seasons and will be looked to immediately as a scoring threat.

Sophomore Kristen Marsjanik will also be counted to play an important role in the rotation.

Attack, attack, attack!

Led by second-team all conference honoree and junior attacker Danielle Edwards' school-record 33 goals, the Bearcats finished fifth in the America East in scoring offense (8.93 gpg) in 2005. This spring, with a firmer grasp on the offensive schemes, Coach Edmonston expects the offense will continue to grow.

"While we didn't necessarily struggle last year, a lot of what we introduced was completely new and required some getting used to. Coming into our second year, I think the girls have really begun to develop a strong understanding of how we want to operate as an offensive unit."

Joining Edwards on the offensive end are classmates Anna Riordan and Heather Grose - a duo that has played an integral role in Binghamton's attack over the last two seasons. A Yorktown, N.Y. native, Riordan was the Bearcats' third leading scorer in 2005, finishing with a career-best 28 points (20 goals and 8 assists). Grose, one of the team's top shooters, netted 17 goals and ranked fifth with 24 points.

"This is one of the team's strongest and most cohesive units," Edmonston said. "Their ability to create as a group will put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses."

Also in the mix up front, Binghamton welcomes freshmen Brady Halbert, Julia Demuth, and Lindsay Feller, all of whom will see increased playing time as the season progresses.

Rhodes leads a steady backline

A trio of juniors, Nicole Rhodes, Kerry Henley and Christina Staab, will lead a steady Bearcats' backline. Rhodes, one of the team's three captains, is expected to take on a lead the defensive unit.

"Both on the field and in the locker room, Nicole is a tremendous presence," Edmonston said. "I can't say enough about what she means to our team."

Also expected to play an integral role is freshman Kara Slowik. An all-league and all-region player in high school, her combination of quickness and smarts should make an instant impact on the team's transition game.

Fellow incoming freshmen Shannon Frawley and Catherine Mumford have also been impressive during the fall and should contend for playing time this season.

A new look between the pipes

For the first time in two years, Binghamton will have an entirely new look between the pipes. After starting 28 consecutive games over the last two seasons and leading the America East in saves in 2005, Christa Quon leaves the Binghamton crease for a spot on the sidelines, entering her first year as a volunteer assistant coach.

To fill the void left by Quon's departure, the Bearcats will look to sophomore Sandra Alvarez to play a bulk of the minutes in goal after spending last year as a member of Binghamton's club team. Despite a lack of game experience, Edmonston is confident in Alvarez's abilities.

"From day one, Sandra has exhibited the necessary confidence to be a leader for us. Even though she has yet to play at this level, the job she has done so far will make it hard to notice her inexperience."

Freshman Carolyn Cuneo, who lettered in lacrosse for a Northport squad that captured the Section 11 Long Island Championship, will also see action.

Staying healthy

Another hurdle for the Bearcats this season will be their lack of depth. Binghamton enters the spring with just 19 players on its roster, compared to 22 a season ago. As a result, staying healthy will be crucial to the team's success.

"I definitely think our numbers are not as high as we would have liked or planned them to be," Edmonston said. "Despite what such a small number might indicate, once we are able to get over some lingering injuries, we should definitely possess some quality depth."

Although a small number is likely to be an area of concern, the opportunities that it presents for the younger players should prove invaluable to the growth of the program.

"Everyone will see playing time. Assuming we can avoid any significant setbacks, we will also begin instituting some new substitution strategies to best take advantage of our versatility"

Learning to win close games

Despite having finished 2005 winless in conference play and with only three victories overall, the Bearcats were far more competitive than their final record might indicate. In fact, half of their losses were by four goals or less, including two conference tilts which were not decided until the game's final five minutes. This year, the goal is to turn those near misses into victories and in the process, climb up the ranks of the America East Conference.

"The first step to building a successful program is learning how to win close games," Edmonston said. "We are looking forward to seeing many of the same teams we saw a year ago, and are looking to earn the wins from many of those close contests this time around."

Spring Break Tournament in West Palm, FL highlights 2006 schedule

The Bearcats will celebrate the fifth season of intercollegiate women's lacrosse when they open their 17-game slate February 28 in Lewisburg, Pa., against Bucknell University. Following the opener against the Bison, Binghamton will host the first of seven home dates to be played at Track Stadium, against Canisius on March 4.

This year's non-conference schedule is highlighted by a spring break trip to West Palm Beach, Florida, where the Bearcats will take part in the 10th annual Spring Fling women's lacrosse event. Over the course of their six-day stay, the Binghamton women will go head-to-head with Iona College, (March 13)in a rematch of last year's 16-9 Bearcats' triumph, and also with American University (March 15), a strong program out of the Patriot League.

The combination of outstanding facilities, beautiful weather and fast-paced lacrosse action has sparked much anticipation towards the trek south.

"As a growing program, this is a tremendously exciting opportunity," said head coach Emily Edmonston. "I cannot emphasize enough how important it will be to take the girls off campus for a week and get them out on the grass this early in the season. Both mentally and physically, we expect it to do wonders."

Headlining the remaining non-conference slate are a pair of challenging road dates with perennial power Syracuse (March 7) and preseason MAAC favorite, LeMoyne (March 11).

The America East slate of games again will provide a very tough challenge for the Bearcats. The conference's top squad from a year ago, Boston University has been ranked as high as third in this year's national preseason polls, after advancing to the quarterfinals of last year's NCAA Championship, while fellow America East power New Hampshire enters the 2006 campaign, having only lost two conference games, both to Boston, since the 2002.

While it appears the league's top two spots may be spoken for, Edmonston isn't ruling out the Bearcats' chances of advancing to the postseason tournament.

"If everything falls into place, I think we should have a solid chance to qualify for the tournament." Edmonston said. "We feel that we definitely possess the individual and team potential to reach all of our goals during the 2006 season."


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