WASHINGTON – The American University lacrosse team gets the 2016 season underway this Sunday, Feb. 14, when it visits Drexel in a non-conference contest.
The game, originally scheduled for a noon start, will begin at 2 p.m. due to frigid weather conditions.
American returns six starters, including four of its top five scorers, from a team that posted a 4-12 overall record in 2015. Among the leaders for the Eagles this year are senior captains Terese Buechli, Olivia Mangan and Jessica Wojciechowski.
Wojciechowski was the Eagles' leading scorer last season, recording 35 goals and 40 points, while Mangan added 14 goals and 15 assists and Buechli, a second-team All-Patriot League midfielder in 2015, pitched in 22 points (21g, 1a).
"Our three captains have done a tremendous job of not only setting the tone, but also improving their game every day [in the preseason]," said American head coach Emma Wallace. "We've been out there every single day making progress, and the team is really energized.
"We have a really solid core of juniors and seniors who are taking the leadership roles and making sure we are in the place we need to be. We also have a lot of young players who bring a great level of energy."
American will expect many of its newcomers to contribute this season, particularly in the cage, where freshman Fiona Geier will take over the starting role.
"We've been giving our freshmen the heads up to be prepared to be on the field this season," said Wallace. "I think they will see pretty significant time this season and will make great contributions as well."
"I think we are very lucky with Fiona in the fact that she's pretty even-keeled and really lives for the game. Even in stressful situations, she's calm under pressure. Also, she's surrounded by a really good core of defensive players who are there to help her out—at the end of the day, it's a full team effort."
The Eagles' first challenge of the season will be a Drexel team that posted a 4-12 overall record in 2015. The Dragons return eight starters from last year's squad, including junior Lacey Aghazarian, who registered a team-leading 21 goals and 23 points last season, and CAA All-Rookie selection Nadia Pelham-Lacey, who recorded 18 goals and 19 points.
"We're really excited to play," said Wallace. "We're thrilled to get on the field and get to it."