Release: February 27, 2006
Contact: Anthony G. Naglieri (email@example.com)
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
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
"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
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
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
Freshman Carolyn Cuneo, who lettered
in lacrosse for a Northport squad that captured the Section 11
Long Island Championship, will also see action.
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
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