Lacrosse: Panthers begin preparations for 2013 season

Lacrosse: Panthers begin preparations for 2013 season

Entering its fourth season, the LaGrange College women's lacrosse team is looking for its best season yet in 2013.  The Panthers were 3-9, including 2-5 in the USA South, in 2012.

Adrienne Berkland returns for her second year as head coach. Assistant coach Malorie Stockwell is also back for her second year. Bryan Stanley joins the coaching staff as a volunteer assistant coach. Stanley brings his experience as the former head coach of the Starrs Mill High School varsity girls program.

Ali Burnette, Paige Castle and Tiffany Dillard will lead the team as the 2013 captains. The three seniors are founding members of the program.  

 The Panthers' 2013 schedule includes seven first year programs and eight USA South games. The Panthers are aiming for their first post-season appearance at the USA South conference tournament. This season, for the first time, the top six teams in the conference advance to the tournament.  The Panthers finished sixth in the conference last season.

The Panthers return their starting attackers from 2012. Junior standout Kelsey Griffin was a USA South Honorable Mention selection last season.  Griffin led the team with a school-record 36 goals and four assists.  Sophomores Sophia Durand and Olivia Monroe both had impressive freshman seasons. Durand was second on the team with 19 goals, while Monroe added seven. Junior Kristin Bird returns for 2013 after missing last season with an injury.

2012 Team Leaders
Points G A Pts
Kelsey Griffin 36 4 40
Sophia Durand 19 1 20
Goals No.    
Kelsey Griffin 36    
Sophia Durand 19    
Ground Balls No.    
Kelsey Griffin 27    
Ashley Davis 26    
Draw Controls No.    
Kelsey Griffin 25    
Ashley Davis 24    
Caused Turnovers No.    
Paige Castle 19    
Tiffany Dillard 17    

In the midfield, the team will be relying on sophomore Ashley Davis, a second team USA South All-Conference selection last season. As a freshman, Davis posted solid stats in every category with eight goals, three assists, 26 ground balls, 24 draw controls and 15 caused turnovers.  Joining Davis in the midfield are Castle and junior Audrey Fortmann. Castle led the team in caused turnovers in 2012 with 19.  Fortmann made the switch from softball to lacrosse last season. The coaching staff will use her speed to make a big impact in the midfield.  

Dillard will lead the Panthers on the defensive end. She earned USA South Honorable Mention honors last season and is ready to make another strong showing in the conference this year in hopes of leading the Panthers to their first tournament berth.  Last season, Dillard proved she could play anywhere on the field, scoring eight goals on offense while forcing 17 turnovers on defense. Burnette and junior Shelby Gentry join Dillard on the defensive side.  Both Burnette and Gentry were major contributors to last season's defense by earning stats in ground balls, draw controls and caused turnovers.

No player will be more vital to the Panthers' success in 2013 than junior goalkeeper Chelsea Totaro. She had an impressive 2012 season, earning USA South Honorable Mention accolades. Totaro ranked in the top 10 of NCAA Division III lacrosse goalies for saves per game. Totaro had a goals against average of only 13, a save percentage
of 52 percent and 145 saves in 2012. She is looking to make the 2013 season her best yet.

Incoming freshmen Alexis Dillard, Raquel Manzo, and Alex Paul come from strong high school programs and will significantly change the Panthers' game this season. Manzo, with her speed and knowledge of the game, will make an immediate impact on the defensive end.   Dillard and Paul have already proved their offensive strength in the preseason and will help to improve the team's shot percentages. Joining the Panther's lacrosse team for the first time will also be Rachel White, and Sage Browning. Coach Berkland is excited for these girls to transition into the sport of lacrosse, and is ready to use their athleticism and speed all over the field.