Women's Lacrosse Gears Up for 1999 Season
February 9, 1999
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 1999 Cavaliers are the next set of Virginia athletes to carryon the proud tradition of Cavalier lacrosse, and this year’s group is morethan up to the challenge. They have the confidence of a conferencetitle, depth in the roster, and a determination to reach the NCAA finals fora third time in four years. The Cavaliers will be strong throughout thefield, boasting returning All-Americans, All-Conference athletes, and USteam members at various positions. After achieving some of last year’sgoals, which included a number-one ranking, the ACC title, and reaching theNCAA final game, the 1999 Cavaliers know what it takes to reach the nextstep. With three members of US squads on the sidelines mentoring thecharge, the Cavaliers are ready for the challenge.
As usual, Virginia will be strong defensively, having led thenation in scoring defense for the past two seasons. Although the Cavaliershave lost their starting keeper, a powerful triumvirate is poised to stepup to the challenge. Returning backup Francis Segarra will be pushed byfreshmen Mary Beth LaVerghetta and Liz McCarthy for the spot between thepipes. Regardless of who starts in the cage, she will be aided by a strongdefense. All three starting line defense players return, including two-timeAll-ACC selection Amy Fromal. Fromal, who was the ACC Rookie of the Year in1997, is a now a battle-tested veteran who can be counted on to make a keyplay at the right time. She is joined on the line by US team member StephySamaras and Melissa Hayes, a member of the top-ranked Virginia field hockeyteam. Throwing fourth year Ashley Widger, who provided a great spark whencalled upon to step up in the middle of the season, into the mix providesthe Cavaliers a solid backfield which will more than hold its own. Alsolooking to support the defense will be junior Alissa DeCarlo, sophomoresKristin Keller and Libby Hoyle, and freshmen Lauri Kenis, a high schoolAll-American, and Ellie Palmer.
A strength of this defense is the ability to control the midfieldand to generate a potent offense while limiting opponent’s scoringopportunities. The midfield will look to All-American Samm Taylor to leadthe charge, where she will be assisted by Jessica Hull, Kelly Allenbach,and Meredith Elwell, among others. Taylor, a member of the United Statesteam, was a second-team All-American in 1998 and led the Cavaliers in bothcaused turnovers and draw controls. Hull is a two -year starter who is asolid performer up and down the field. Allenbach has started in both of herfirst two years and provides a powerful defensive presence in the attackingend, along with Hull. Elwell, who has had two years’ experience with thetop-ranked Virginia field hockey team, was named an All-American in fieldhockey last year while earning a starting position for the lacrosse team aswell. Virginia’s midfield will be dominated by speed, and many players areavailable to step up to push the Cavalier offense and defense. Helping withthe rotation will be junior Jill Hansen, sophomore Libby Hoyle, andfreshmen Tiffany Schummer and Gina Sambus.
All-American Mia Mooney and 1998 ACC Rookie of the Year Mills Hookreturn to help start the offense after solid 1998 seasons. Mooney, who tieda school record before suffering a season-ending injury, looks to regainher All-American form in 1999. Hook, who ranked third at Virginia inscoring, led all conference freshman in scoring in 1998 en route to theconference honor. Her classmate Lacey Aumiller also came into her own,sparking the Cavaliers with four goals in the national semifinal game andranked sixth on the team in scoring last year. These two were the highestscoring freshman duo in school history. Junior Sarah Gercke also sawvaluable playing time in 1998, and will look to contribute to the Cavalierattack along with sophomore Lauren Stevenson and freshman Molly Cangemi.Also adding experience to the line attack are senior Mary Sauer and juniorJamie Hass, who both look to return from injuries and have providedvaluable playing time. In addition, the ranks will be bolstered by juniorLaura Lindsay, who joins the team for the first time after her stint withthe Virginia field hockey team.
Virginia will once again benefit from a schedule that ranks amongthe nation’s toughest. Besides the opponents in the country’s topconference–Maryland, North Carolina, and Duke, all of who are in thetop-ten–the Cavaliers will face five other teams who were invited to thenational tournament in 1998. Also in the Cavaliers’ schedule for 1999include perrenial power and defending ECAC Champion Penn State, as well asnewcomers who have already cracked the top-20 in Syracuse, Vanderbilt andGeorge Mason. The Cavaliers look to meet each of these challenges as theyprepare to add their own names to the already proud and honored traditionof Virginia Lacrosse.