Women's Lacrosse Opens 2006 Campaign At American Saturday

February 28, 2006
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Feb. 28, 2006

Game: Old Dominion at American - William Jacobs Recreational Complex - Washington, D.C. - 1:00 p.m.

A Glance At The Opponent - American: The American Eagles return 14 letterwinners and nine starters from last year's squad that went 6-11 overall and finished third in the Patriot League with a 4-2 conference mark. The Eagles open the season against a familiar Lady Monarch opponent. American takes on Towson in their season opener on Wednesday.

Last Time Vs. American: The Old Dominion University women's lacrosse notched its first victory of the 2005 season as they rattled off seven unanswered goals to begin the contest en route to a 9-8 victory over American at Foreman Field back on March 5th. Former Lady Monarch attacker Colleen Carver (Catonsville, Md.) led the way for Old Dominion with three goals including the afternoon's game-winner unassisted with just over 10 minutes remaining in the contest. Fellow classmates Katie Veneziale (Downingtown, Pa.) and Ashley Stanwick (Aquasco, Md.) each netted two apiece. Caroline Jacobs (Gaithersburg, Md.) and Kelly Kimener (Oakton, Va.) each reached the back of the American net once, while Jacbos also recording a game-high two assists. The Eagles had five different players find the back of the Lady Monarch net, led by Moriah Linnel with a game-high four goals. Old Dominion scored seven unanswered goals to open the game and entered the half with a 7-2 advantage. In the second half however, the Eagles went on their own tear netting four unanswered goals of their own to pull within two, 7-5, just eight minutes into the second half. Carver would break the drought just moments later and go on to score the eventual game winner with 10:31 left on the clock, giving Old Dominion a 9-5 edge. American would go on to score three more goals in the game's final six minutes to pull within one score of the Lady Monarch lead and the final margin. In net, Old Dominion's Michelle Gannon (Delmar, Md.) posted eight saves in the win. American's Kathleen Finnegan stopped 14 shots in the loss. Veneziale scooped up five groundball to lead the Lady Monarchs in the category, while Kristen Truax (Lexington, Va.) recording four caused turnovers. Sarah Lautenbach (West Chester, Pa.) registered a game-high three draw controls. Linnell, the game's leading scorer, led American with four groundballs while Brittany Finnegan caused four turnovers. Finnegan also recorded three draws as well.

Outlook On Old Dominion: Last year's record was definitely no indication of the talent the Lady Monarchs had on their roster. The 2005 version of the Old Dominion's women's lacrosse program boasted one of the most youthful rosters in memory and at times showed on the field. However, towards the end of the season, the Lady Monarchs were able to give the likes of #18 Towson, #20 William & Mary, and #9 North Carolina a run for their money.

The good news is that year's roster is now a year wiser, stronger, polished, and improved. Add to the fact the Lady Monarchs graduated only two student-athletes and return nearly 87 percent of its offense to the field, you have one team that is ready to move up the ranks.

Old Dominion gladly welcomes back fifth-year senior Melody Shotwell, who sat out last season nursing a knee injury suffered at the tale end of her junior season. Shotwell is eager to start where she left off and that was being among the Lady Monarch leaders on the offense. As a junior, Shotwell added in 26 goals and five assists, second on the squad only to all-time ODU scorer Suzanne Wosczyna. Although she has been away from the turf for over a year, Shotwell's infectious competitive spirit will shine and inspire her teammates.

Caroline Jacobs returns as the most decorated Lady Monarchs from last year's squad. A First Team All-CAA and All-State honoree and Second Team All-South Region selection, the junior midfielder is eager to add more accolades to her resume. Nearly unstoppable at times during the season, Jacobs has killer instinct in getting to the net and either getting the ball past the goalkeeper or finding an open teammate to make the goal. Last season, she collected 45 points as ODU's top scorer with 27 goals and 18 assists and looks to keep her numbers up during her third year of duty with the team.

Ashley Stanwick also bolsters the Lady Monarch attack. Just like her teammate Jacobs, Stanwick has a knack of finding her in the right place at the right time...that is open in front of the opponent net. Although Jacobs led the team in points, it was Stanwick who led the Lady Monarchs in goals with 32.

Another key component to Old Dominion's success will be junior Katie Veneziale. The junior midfielder has been a force to reckon with on the draw control. For the last two seasons, Veneziale has been consistenly ranked among the conference's and nation's best in the category. Controlling the draw early and often has been proven to be key in Old Dominion's success.

Adding to the midfield will be seniors Tameka Davis, Sarah Lautenbach and Krista Townsend, who were consistent members of the starting line-up last season as well as junior Kristen Truax. The Lady Monarchs also welcome back sophomore Kelly Kimener who was lost early last season to injury. In just four appearances, Kimener netted eight goals.

Defensively, the Lady Monarchs are young especially with the loss of mainstays Valerie Gooch and Cassandra Connor to graduation. However, senior Sarah Wosczyna is ready to lead having played with and behind some of the best defenders on the Lady Monarch team. Wosczyna was among the team's leader in groundballs with 30 and will look to up her numbers in caused turnovers this seasons as well as guide the future, up-and-coming defense.

In goal, the Lady Monarchs have two options to be in between the pipes. Senior Michelle Gannon has started every game of her career, however sophomore Sara Larson could potentially challenge for the starting nod from head coach Sue Stahl. Gannon has made many spectatular plays during her tenure, but Larson put in impressive minutes during ODU's scrimmage against William & Mary in the fall.

Nine newcomers all with highly impressive credentials join the Old Dominion roster for 2006. They will not only challenge the veterans for a starting role, but will provide much needed depth.

The 2006 schedule should prove to be an exciting one. The Lady Monarchs play in one of the top women's lacrosse leagues in the country in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) where any give team can walk away with the title this year. Stahl's non-conference schedule is just as tough with the likes of perennial powerhouses Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia challenging this year's team