Women's lacrosse head coach Chris Mason's enters her 29th season at Williams looking to improve on last year's ninth place finish NESCAC, having gone 2-8 in conference and 6-9 overall.
The Ephs lost five talented players to graduation and two of last year's leading scorers to injury. Mason will be able to count on a core of 19 returners to help lead the 2013 team.
Captains Grace Horwitz and Sam Weinstein, as well as Emily Whicker, Biff Ryan, Alex Sera and Amanda Weber comprise this year's senior class. With Horwitz on defense; Weinstein, Whicker, Ryan and Weber in the midfield, and Sera on attack, the Ephs will benefit from the experience and leadership found across the field.
Weinstein was fourth for the Ephs in scoring last season with 23 goals, and Whicker contributed 11. With the first three leading scorers from last season no longer on the roster, the Ephs will be looking for players to step up on offense.
"That's the way it goes every year," Mason said. "People graduate and can't play for one reason or another and other people step up. We'll be looking to see who those people are who are going to step up. There certainly are a lot of people with talent who can do it."
The Eph junior class is equally stacked with talented players looking to contribute both to the Ephs' attack, as well as on defense. Rebecca McGovern, who had 17 goals for the Ephs last season, is returning in the midfield. Stephanie Gallo, who tallied five goals last season, and Maggie MacCallum (1 goal) will be looking to make a bigger impact on the Ephs' attack, while Lacey Hankin, Courtney McLaughlin and Grace Wilson will be joining Horwitz on defense.
"It's effective when a team is very balanced and there's not just one player an opposing team can try and stop," Mason said.
In net, Ali Piltch, who played every minute of last season for the Ephs, posted a save percentage of .436 last season and a goals against average of 10.67. Piltch, who served as the Eph's lone goalie in 2012, will be joined in net this season by first-year Corey Michon.
"Having two humans, as opposed to one human and one plywood board, will be outstanding for practices and games," Mason commented in reference to the addition of a second goalie to the roster. "They'll push each other and work well with each other and I'm hoping we can use them both."
Returning sophomores include Bridget Malicki and Nancy Palmer, both of whom were sidelined last season with injuries will be looking for time on attack. Rebecca Bell, Emily Gerber and Maeve Mulholland are ready to contribute in the midfield for Mason. Rounding out the returning sophomores is Mahaney Sippel on defense. New to the sophomore class are Hillary Cook and Alyssa Amos.
And topping off the roster is an influx of first-years. Natalie Gill and Molly Belk will be expected to contribute this season in the midfield; and Michaela Dussel, Anne Rehfuss and Alyssa Maddalone will be looked to bolster the Eph attack.
The Ephs will open their 2013 season at home on March 9 when they host Little Three foe Wesleyan at 12:00 PM.