Feb. 10, 1998

1998 Virginia Women's Lacrosse Outlook

The Cavaliers enter the 1998 season with a strong combination of experience and talent as well as a desire to maintain the deep tradition of Virginia lacrosse. The Cavaliers advanced to the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in eight years in 1997 and Head Coach Julie Myers has taken her squad to the post season in each of her years at the helm of the team. For the sixth time in seven years, a Cavalier was selected as the Player of the Year and for the fourteenth consecutive year Virginia can claim a member on the squad who is also a member of the United States national team. The Cavaliers return nine starters and 13 letter winners and look to capitalize on this experience and excellence to continue the strong history of Virginia lacrosse.

Virginia will strive to maintain its traditional tough defense in 1998. The Cavaliers will look to a triad of goalkeepers to form the last line of the defense, including last year's starter Heather Castle. Castle ranked fourth in the nation in 1997 in goals-against average. She will be pushed for time in the cage by sophomore Francis Segarra and senior Clair Parrish. Parrish steps into the cage this year for the first time after spending her first three years on Virginia's attack.

The Cavaliers have the luxury of welcoming back a stacked defense that boasts the Player of the Year in Peggy Boutilier, United States team member Kara Ariza, and ACC Rookie of the Year Amy Fromal. In addition, Melissa Hayes and Samm Taylor were both members of the ACC All-Tournament team in 1997. Boutilier, Hayes, and Ariza have all had experience in the 1997-98 year as they participated with the top-ranked Virginia field hockey team that advanced to the national semifinals in 1997. Boutilier and Ariza both added to the Virginia attack consistently in 1997 as Ariza was the Cavaliers' third-leading scorer with 24 goals and 12 assists and Boutilier chipped in 14 goals and 4 assists. Contributing to the Virginia defense will be sophomores Stephy Samaras, Ashley Widger, and Alissa DeCarlo. Adding depth to the defense will be local freshman Julie Cattano, and Kristin Keller, a member of the 1995 United States Under-19 team.

The Virginia midfield returns All-South Region selection Jess Hull, who ranked fifth in Virginia scoring last year with 19 goals and 5 assists. She will be joined by sophomores Meredith Elwell, who was also a member of the Virginia field hockey team and is a member of the United States Under-23 team, and Kelly Allenbach. Also contributing to the Virginia midfield will be seniors Dixie Hurst and Joanna Khouri. Contributing to the Cavaliers in the midfield will be newcomers Jill Hansen, Lauren Stevenson, and Libby Hoyle.

Returning to pace the Cavalier attack are eight of Virginia's top ten scorers in 1997, including All-American Beth Potter, who led the team in scoring last season. Potter led Virginia with 32 goals and 20 assists and was named to the first All-ACC team in 1997. Potter ranks third all-time in Virginia history with 51 assists and has cracked the top-ten in scoring as a junior with 125. She will be complimented with the return of junior Mia Mooney who scored 12 goals and added 3 assists last season. Mooney brings with her international experience as a member of the 1995 Under-19 team. The Cavalier attack will be deep with the return of local product Sarah Gercke and the addition of three All-Americans in senior transfer Natalie Sooule and freshmen Mills Hook and Lacey Aumiller. Soule comes to Virginia after graduating from Tufts as a Division III All-American who led the Jumbos in scoring. Hook and Aumiller are former rivals from Baltimore who were both named to the All-County team.

Virginia's rich history includes long rivalries with many of the nation's top teams and the 1998 schedule demonstrates this strength. All of the seven schools that played with Virginia in the NCAA tournament in 1997 are on the slate, inlcuding national semifinalists Loyola and Temple. The Cavaliers play in the ACC, the toughest conference in the country, and will face the conference rivals again in the ACC tournament. In addition, the Cavaliers will face 1997 NCAA participant Penn State as well as in-state rivals William and Mary and James Madison, both of whom advanced to post season play last year. Four of the schools Virginia will face in 1998 are coached by Virginia alumnae, demonstrating the strength of the Virginia tradition in lacrosse. The 1998 squad looks to continue this impressive tradition by capitalizing on the experience and talent that the Cavaliers bring to the field and strive to write their own chapter in the history of Virginia lacrosse.