HAVERFORD, Pa. – A young Haverford College women's lacrosse team will look to make its mark in the Centennial Conference this season.
Finishing 6-10 overall last season, the Fords fell just short of qualifying for their third straight conference tournament appearance. A returning roster that features only three seniors but immeasurable team chemistry aims for a return trip to the playoffs.
Graduation claimed four contributing attackers from the 2012 squad, including All-American Josie Ferri. Ferri, a four-time all-conference honoree, rewrote the program record books during an illustrious career.
Junior Megan Gallagher, second on the team in points last season with 30 (23 goals, 7 assists), leads the attack. Gallagher, honorable mention all-conference in 2012, will have plenty of help from senior Kenny Likes. Registering nine goals and two assists during her junior campaign, Likes is an efficient quarterback on offense showing great skill on feeds from down low. Sophomore Hannah Morgan, who tallied seven goals in her initial year in the program, looks to make a bigger impact on offense as well.
Leading the charge from the midfield will be senior tri-captain Perrin Downing. A two-time all-conference honoree, Downing plays hard from start to finish in every contest and has contagious work ethic. Downing tied for third on the team in points last season with 28 (18 g, 10 a).
Sophomore Diana Perry joins Downing as a significant returner in the midfield. Perry gained valuable experience as a starter last season when she finished second on the team in goals with 26 and tallied goals in 14 of the Fords' 16 contests. Bringing speed, quickness and a great shot, Perry is a viable scoring threat.
A veteran defensive unit returns virtually intact from last season anchored by senior Grace Stockbower and junior Anne Cullen. Stockbower and Cullen, serving as captains along with Downing, complement each other well as leaders of the defense in front of junior goalie Shannon Horn. Stockbower brings size and sound, physical play while Cullen is vocal in offering direction.
Keep an eye on freshman Amanda Fleming who looks poised to make an impact on the defensive and midfield units. Fleming brings a next level of speed to Haverford's transition game.
The pieces on defense have become more confident with each other during a productive off-season that saw communication improve overall.
Horn steps between the pipes to replace the departed Leah Hammerschlag, who was the Fords' primary goalie the last three years. Extremely poised and level-headed in the cage, Horn works hard throughout the year on eye-hand reactions due to her participation in fencing during the winter season. Head coach Lauren Wray is confident Horn is ready for the challenge of the starting position in net.
Wray aims for a return trip by Haverford to the Centennial tournament. Projecting a tight, exciting conference race once again, Wray feels, "every game is important and any team can knock off another on any given day." With an eye to Haverford making a mark on a national stage, the second-year head coach reflects, "the Centennial is excellent preparation for the ultimate goal of making the NCAA tournament."
A challenging season opener awaits as Cabrini College, the preseason favorite in the Colonial States Athletic Conference, makes the short trip down the Main Line to Swan Field on Wednesday for a 4 p.m. start.