WASHINGTON – The American University women's lacrosse team is kicking off its 2017 campaign this week, hosting Johns Hopkins at Jacobs Field at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15.
The Eagles are 2-10 against the Blue Jays after dropping the road contest last year, 16-10. AU's last victory over Johns Hopkins was in 2013, when they won in overtime at home, 10-9.
The Eagles lost only three of their regular starters from last season, including two of the team's top scorers with Jessica Wojciechowski and Olivia Mangan. Wojciechowski led the 2016 squad with 50 points off of 36 goals and 14 assists, followed closely by Mangan who put up 48 points off of 24 goals and 24 assists.
AU also graduated 2015 All-Patriot League Second Team member, Terese Buechli, who started 15 games during her senior campaign, contributing 16 points to the team's tally with 10 goals and six assists.
Looking to step into those holes left by last year's graduates is the five-player senior class, led by 2016 All-Patriot League Second Team honoree, Madison Hoon. The midfielder had an exciting junior season, leading the squad with 64 draw controls to set a new AU single-season record. She also tied for the team lead in caused turnovers with 16, while ranking second in ground balls (29).
Offensively, Hoon finished the year with 23 points on 16 goals and seven assists, ranking fourth on the team in all three categories.
Fellow-seniors Kayla Flynn, Shauna Norris, Daniella Pino and Sarah Bootman will also look to step into key leadership roles, providing the necessary experience to a very young squad. Of the 26-player roster, 17 are underclassmen with nine freshmen and eight sophomores.
"We are a very young team, and are counting on our freshmen and sophomores to step into some big roles," Head Coach Emma Wallace, heading into her fifth season at American, said. "Our captains and seniors have provided a solid foundation for the younger players to grow and challenge themselves. We will have a lot of new faces on the field this year, and I can't wait to see how the younger players face down the competition."
The junior class will be led by attacker Jennifer DeSimone, who tied with Mangan last season with 48 points off of a team-high 40 goals and eight assists. Senior Sarah Bootman and sophomore Sam Breeze will also be looked to for contributions offensively after tallying nine points and five points last season, respectively.
"I am very excited about the upcoming season," Wallace said. "I think we will be tested with some great competition in and out of the conference. We also have the addition of the possession clock, which has made the game faster."
SCOUTING THE BLUE JAYS
Johns Hopkins presents some exciting competition to kick off the year, after finishing last season at the NCAA tournament and entering this year ranked 15th by the Nike/US Lacrosse Poll, 18th in the Cascade Media Poll and 20th in the IWLCA Coaches Poll.
"Hopkins had a great season last year, making it to the second round of NCAA's, and are currently ranked in the top 20. But, we are their first game this year, and the slate is blank. We are preparing for what we might see from them while staying focused on our own game plan. It will be a battle, but that is what makes for some great lacrosse."
Wednesday's game is set to start at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at Jacobs Field. For the lastest on AU Lacrosse, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_Lacrosse.