October 6, 2010

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Practice pennies, neon green laces, new faces and the promise of a new season not far off -- all signs point to fall ball, college lacrosse's annual rite of initiation.

With 2010 in the books and 2011 in mind, LMO's "Fall Ball Blitz" series checks in with coaches and players around the country for the latest developments.

RECENT "FALL BALL BLITZ" STORIES | ARCHIVE


New-Look Bullets Reload for 2011 Season

by Paul Ohanian | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Senior defender Becky Lutz, a second team All-American in 2010, will be among the few holdovers for a revamped Gettysburg lineup.

Players come and players go. It’s the nature of college sports. Freshmen morph into seniors, and then they’re gone, leaving coaches to rebuild and reload.

That’s the scenario facing Carol Cantele and her staff at Gettysburg this year. The Bullets have one of the premier programs in Division III women's lacrosse, with nine straight NCAA tournament appearances and four national semifinal berths in five years. But the roster will be noticeably different following the graduation loss of 10 seniors in 2010.

Among those, the Bullets lose four of their top five scorers, including three All-Americans, as well as key players on defense and a four-year starter in goal.

“Every facet of the game is a concern,” Cantele said. “We’ll have a whole new look.”

The rebuilding process this fall has been focused on integrating a strong incoming group with the remaining returnees.

“We bring back some complimentary players who weren’t the big stars, but contributed a bit more quietly,” Cantele said. “I think those players are ready to embrace new roles.”

Junior attacker Hannah Church (37g, 20a), sophomore Lindsey Robinson (18g, 13a) and senior defender Becky Lutz (48 GBs) headline the returnees.

To guide the large group of newcomers, the coaches have spent more time this fall focusing on fundamentals. Players are spending more time on the wall and on stick work.

“We’re trying to emphasize smooth play,” Cantele said. “We’re passing and moving the ball and not getting fancy in fall ball. We’re trying to help the players gain more confidence with their stick every day.”

The turnover has been somewhat invigorating, as well.

“This incoming group has added a nice spark,” Cantele said. “They’re adapting to the pace of the game, but also holding their own. It’s exciting.”

Ultimately, Cantele knows that the true measure of her revamped squad will come in the spring, when games count.

“The big challenge for us will be finding the right combinations of people and seeing who will produce on game day,” she said. “Time will tell if we’ve got the right players.”

FALL BALL BLITZ

Team: Gettysburg
2010 Record:
18-4 (9-0 Centennial)
2010 In Review: The Bullets made their ninth straight NCAA tournament appearance and fourth trip to the national semifinals in five years. For the second straight year, Gettysburg had its championship bid halted by Salisbury in the final four. Gettysburg completed its fourth undefeated run through the Centennial Conference regular season since 2000, but lost a 9-8 overtime decision against F&M in the league championship game.

Goodbye… Hollis Stahl. The senior midfielder was the CC’s Player of the Year in both 2009 and 2010 and became just the second player in Gettysburg history to register 100 goals, 100 points, 100 ground balls, 100 draw controls and 100 caused turnovers. Stahl was a first team All-American as both a junior and a senior and was named the IWLCA’s Midfielder of the Year in 2010.

Hello… Katie Blumenthal. The freshman attacker from Philadelphia has displayed good tenacity and solid decision-making in fall practices, two positive signs in the coach’s view. “It’s what we were hoping to see,” said Cantele.

Offseason Developments: The biggest development is yet to come -- the end of field hockey season. Six lacrosse players also compete on the Bullets’ field hockey squad and have not participated in fall practices. Their addition in the offseason will give Cantele and her staff greater options when the spring preseason gets started.

Big Question: While it’s tempting to say that finding a replacement for four-year starter Kristen Krammer in goal may be the big question, Cantele is quick to note that there are too many unknowns at this point to settle on just one. “We’re trying to find out who the competitors are,” she said.

Fall Schedule: Per Centennial Conference rules, teams are allowed 16 practice opportunities during the fall. Gettysburg will conclude its fall routine by hosting a four-team play day on Saturday, Oct. 16 that includes Mount St. Mary’s, Shippensburg and Stevenson.


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