The Central Connecticut women's lacrosse program will open the 2013 season on Friday night at Lafayette College. The Blue Devils and Leopards are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at Fisher Field. The Leopards hold a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series between these programs.
The Blue Devils are coming off one of the most successful campaigns in program history and are led by second year head coach Kelly Nangle. CCSU matched the school record with a second consecutive seven win season and set new program records for conference (5) and home victories (6) in 2012. Nangle was named Northeast Conference Coach of the Year following the season.
On the field, CCSU is led by veteran attackers Betsy Vendel and Meaghan McCurry. Both players have been major contributors to the program over the last three seasons and are primed for a strong senior season. Juniors Claire Healy and Alyssa Famiano, sophomore Brigit Hogan and freshman Elyse Malecki will also be expected to contribute up front.
In the midfield, the Blue Devils will rely on senior Mackenzy Ryan and junior Amanda Toke. Ryan has been a key player for the Blue Devils throughout her career, while Toke emerged last season as one of the team's top all-around players. Sophomores Jessica Sudock and Andrea Tarsi also return to the midfield and newcomers Madison Hughes and Falynn McCartney will also contribute this season.
Defensively, the Blue Devils return their four primary defenders from last season in seniors Ali Roche, Cierra Ward and Caitlin Karner, as well as junior Ashley Olhausen. The group combined for 102 ground balls and 69 caused turnovers last season. Adding depth on defense will be freshmen Winnie Caetta and Morgan Wallace. The defensive unit will be rounded out by sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Tullar. Tullar has earned the starting spot in goal after serving as the team's primary back-up last season.
Here are some notes on the Blue Devils heading into the 2013 season:
- The Blue Devils' only victory over Lafayette came in 2007, a 13-7 CCSU victory.
- CCSU lacrosse is 2-11 all-time in season openers.
- The Lafayette game is the first of five road games CCSU will play in Pennsylvania this season.
- The Blue Devils return nine starters from last season.
- The current players are among the top-10 on CCSU's career points list (Betsy Vendel, 2nd; Meaghan McCurry, 4th; Mackenzy Ryan, 7th).
- McCurry (99), Vendel (87) and Ryan (87) are also likely to score their 100th career goals this season. Currently, CCSU's 100 goal club has just two members Tracey Uellendahl and Michele Conway.
- Ali Roche is seven ground balls shy of 100 for her career.
- CCSU returns 111 of the team's 158 goals from last season.