Lacrosse Looking Ahead to New Prospects
By Amro El-Adle '13, Managing Sports Editor
After short-lived 2009 campaigns, the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams will look to realize lofty expectations as they embark on promising seasons this weekend.


After last season ended on a sour note in a first-round loss to top-ranked Middlebury in the NESCAC Championships, the Jeffs start this year off with a clean slate — as nine seniors from last year’s team have graduated. In their stead, the team has been reinvigorated with a slew of new faces. In fact, of the 44 team members, only 11 are juniors or seniors.

The learning curve might not be quite so steep for these first-year players, however, as more seasoned players anchor most of the field. On attack, senior tri-captain Thomas McDonnell and fellow classmate Matt Kellman should lead a potent offensive squad that has already turned heads in preseason action. “Our opponents will be surprised at the athleticism of the newcomers,” said McDonnell. “The key to our season will depend on how fast we can mesh together as a team.”

Senior tri-captain Rob Denious will lead a revamped Jeffs’ midfield that excelled last season and can only come back stronger this year. Sophomores Alex Fox, Evan Redwood and Matt Rawson will join a bevy of Jeffs who are poised for a breakout year on a team that features a consummate blend of experience and youth.

The defense was hit the hardest by graduation, as senior tri-captain Gabe Mann is the only returning starter on that side of the field. In addition, sophomore Sam Jakimo will be taking over the reigns as goalie after allowing an average of 7.65 goals in four games last season.

Team dynamics will go a long way towards determining this season’s outcome — a valuable lesson that has not been lost on McDonnell. “The tri-captains must keep the younger players from attempting to do too much. Also, we will hit some rough patches and the captains must keep the confidence levels up.”

The team opens play this Saturday at Gooding Field against Tufts University at 1 p.m.


In the roller-coaster ride that was their 2009 season, the women’s lacrosse team had a total of seven games decided by two goals or less en route to a 6-8 record overall. The Jeffs seemed to have all their skills lined up in the clutch, as they put together a respectable 4-3 record in those games, including a double-overtime victory over Springfield in the second game of the season. The team’s lopsided losses, and wins for that matter, are a more pressing concern, as the Jeffs try to iron out those inconsistencies this season.

The Jeffs’ calling card from last season, the defense that forced a NESCAC-leading 12.71 turnovers per game, will be returning in its entirety this year, headlined by senior co-captains Tyler Troy-Murphy and Kathleen Scheld. Goal-keeping will also be a Jeff strength this season, as sophomore Lamia Harik will mind the net after a rookie campaign in which she steadily improved. “The defense certainly could carry us — we have great depth and experience in this unit,” said head coach Christine Paradis, who is entering her 16th season. “And the defense will be the springboard to our transition and settled attack.”

The midfield also features a talented group, as sophomores Kelley Trapp, Lindsey Moran and senior Hannah Walker, who combined for 58 points last season, are all returning. Several standout sophomores lead the way on the offensive front, with Allie Horwitz, Julia Viani, Josie Fisher and junior Robyn Lightner at the helm.

The team has an exceptionally athletic recruiting class coming in this year, as six of the 10 first-years on this year’s team are two-sport athletes at Amherst. That athleticism could prove to be an invaluable asset should the Jeffs learn to incorporate it into their game. “Returners are looking sharp and ready to get going, while the first years are already adding so much to the program both on and off the field as well,” said Tory-Murphy. “The past two weekends we’ve had scrimmages to help us prepare for our upcoming game against Tufts, and they’ve really provided some insight as to how we will fair against the Jumbos.”

The Jeffs will travel to Tufts this Saturday for a noon matchup against the Jumbos.

Issue 18, Submitted 2010-03-10 05:33:01