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February 23, 1999

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 1999 Cavaliers are the next set of Virginia athletes to carry on the proud tradition of Cavalier lacrosse, and this years group is more than up to the challenge. They have the confidence of a conference title,depth in the roster, and a determination to reach the NCAA finals for a third time in four years. The Cavaliers will be strong throughout the field, boasting returning All-Americans, All-Conference athletes, and US team members at various positions. After achieving some of last years goals, which included a number-one ranking, the ACC title, and reaching the NCAA final game, the 1999 Cavaliers know what it takes to reach the next step. With three members of US squads on the sidelines mentoring the charge, the Cavaliers are ready for the challenge.

As usual, Virginia will be strong defensively, having led the nation in scoring defense for the past two seasons. Although the Cavaliers have lost their starting keeper, a powerful triumvirate is poised to step up to the challenge. Returning backup Francis Segarra will be pushed by freshmen Mary Beth LaVerghetta and Liz McCarthy for the spot between the pipes. Regardless of who starts in the cage, she will be aided by a strong defense. All three starting line defense players return, including two-time All-ACC selection Amy Fromal. Fromal, who was the ACC Rookie of the Year in 1997, is a now a battle-tested veteran who can be counted on to make a key play at the right time. She is joined on the line by US team member Stephy Samaras and Melissa Hayes, a member of the top-ranked Virginia field hockey team. Throwing fourth year Ashley Widger, who provided a great spark when called upon to step up in the middle of the season, into the mix provides the Cavaliers a solid backfield which will more than hold its own. Also looking to support the defense will be junior Alissa DeCarlo, sophomores Kristin Keller and Libby Hoyle, and freshmen Lauri Kenis, a high school All-American, and Ellie Palmer.

A strength of this defense is the ability to control the midfield and to generate a potent offense while limiting opponents scoring opportunities. The midfield will look to All-American Samm Taylor to lead the charge, where she will be assisted by Jessica Hull, Kelly Allenbach, and Meredith Elwell, among others. Taylor, a member of the United States team, was a second-team All-American in 1998 and led the Cavaliers in both caused turnovers and draw controls. Hull is a two -year starter who is a solid performer up and down the field. Allenbach has started in both of her first two years and provides a powerful defensive presence in the attacking end, along with Hull. Elwell, who has had two years experience with the top-ranked Virginia field hockey team, was named an All-American in field hockey last year while earning a starting position for the lacrosse team as well. Virginias midfield will be dominated by speed, and many players are available to step up to push the Cavalier offense and defense. Helping with the rotation will be junior Jill Hansen, sophomore Libby Hoyle, and freshmen Tiffany Schummer and Gina Sambus.

All-American Mia Mooney and 1998 ACC Rookie of the Year Mills Hook return to help start the offense after solid 1998 seasons. Mooney, who tied a school record before suffering a season-ending injury, looks to regain her All-American form in 1999. Hook, who ranked third at Virginia in scoring, led all conference freshman in scoring in 1998 en route to the conference honor. Her classmate Lacey Aumiller also came into her own, sparking the Cavaliers with four goals in the national semifinal game and ranked sixth on the team in scoring last year. These two were the highest scoring freshman duo in school history. Junior Sarah Gercke also saw valuable playing time in 1998, and will look to contribute to the Cavalier attack along with sophomore Lauren Stevenson and freshman Molly Cangemi. Also adding experience to the line attack are senior Mary Sauer and junior Jamie Hass, who both look to return from injuries and have provided valuable playing time. In addition, the ranks will be bolstered by junior Laura Lindsay, who joins the team for the first time after her stint with the Virginia field hockey team

Virginia will once again benefit from a schedule that ranks among the nations toughest. Besides the opponents in the countrys top conference–Maryland, North Carolina, and Duke, all of who are in the top-ten–the Cavaliers will face five other teams who were invited to the national tournament in 1998. Also in the Cavaliers schedule for 1999 include perrenial power and defending ECAC Champion Penn State, as well as newcomers who have already cracked the top-20 in Syracuse, Vanderbilt and George Mason. The Cavaliers look to meet each of these challenges as they prepare to add their own names to the already proud and honored tradition of Virginia Lacrosse.

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