February 28, 2013

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WD3 Notebook: Piedmont Starting Up Strong

Franklin & Marshall edges York in Game of Week

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com

Ali Kelly (above) had three goals in Franklin & Marshall's 13-7 win over York on Tuesday.
© Kevin P. Tucker

In 2006, Emily Jacquette left the comfort of lacrosse in the Northeast, for the great unknown of the South to start up the Birmingham-Southern program.

The task was a bit tougher than she anticipated.

"Quite frankly I was very naive to how much work it was going to be," said Jacquette, who lost just two games during her entire playing career at TCNJ. "It was a challenge. I played for a very established program. When I got [to TCNJ] as a freshman, everything was laid out. You kind of followed the road that was been paved for you. When you're starting a program, there is no road."

Jacquette left a good path for future players at Birmingham-Southern; the Panthers have never had a losing season. Now, after a brief stopover at the Savannah College of Art and Design, she's building another program. This one is at Piedmont, a small private school, north of Atlanta.

It's easier the second time around.

Piedmont trailed 1-0 one minute into the first game in program history, then scored the next eight goals. It hasn't trailed since. The Lions have opened their first season with three wins: 19-4 over Agnes Scott, 16-5 over Meredith and 18-4 over Oglethorpe. The first two games were USA South Athletic Conference contests.

"The kids were ready to play against someone other than themselves," Jacquette said. "You can only play intrasquad so much before you know what everyone else was going to do. When the first game was over, it was almost a sigh of relief. 'OK, we got that out of the way, now we're moving on.'"

Piedmont's roster is made up entirely of freshmen, but unlike many new programs in the South, the Lions have extensive lacrosse backgrounds. Just three players were plucked from other sports without pervious playing experience. The state of Georgia has been a bit of a trailblazer for lacrosse in the South. The Peach State sanctioned the sport before Florida even.

"Most of these girls got started playing in middle school," Jacquette said. "That's when the game started to take off. Up north that seems late, but down here it's pretty early."

The result is a talented freshman class that is playing like veterans. Alexis Narducci has 13 goals and two assists. Megan McDowell has 12 goals and two assists. McDowell teams with Maggie McDaniel and Cahner Manns to form a solid midfield that is the core of the team.

The team hails from all over the region. McDowell and McDaniel are from the Atlanta area. Manns is from North Carolina. Narducci from outside Jacksonville, Fla.

The first team is proving that there's plenty of talent in the region. The only major hurdle left is that soccer is a spring sport in Georgia, leaving many girls with a tough choice. Another hurdle that existed before the season — getting the word out about Piedmont's existence — seems to have been clear. The South is on notice. Piedmont has arrived.

Captains crash Top 20

Speaking of the USA South, seven-time defending conference champion Christopher Newport cracked the Top 20 for the first time in program history this week, checking in at No. 19 after a 9-8 victory over Washington & Lee on Saturday.

The Captains trailed by one with less than two minutes to go, when Kyle Chaplin tied it at eight. Ashton Marshall won it with 46 seconds remaining.

CNU has taken the league's automatic bid in every season since 2006, but Jacquette said their presence in the growing league is a good thing for new teams.

"It's the best of both worlds," Jacquette said. "[The USA South] gives a program an opportunity to win some games and play some games that will really challenge you. Our kids pretty much hail from the Southeast, this gives them the opportunity to see how the game is played up North. Sometimes, you're on the receiving end of a not so fun game, but it's a learning experience. They can see why we're working on these things at practice. We're trying to get to the athletic level that Christopher Newport is, to compete on the national stage."

CNU hosts Piedmont on March 30.

Game of Last Week

Franklin & Marshall 13, York 7

The War of the Roses, fought between the English houses of Lancaster and York, ended over 500 years ago, but the Pennsylvania towns that bear their names continue a long-standing rivalry.

It frequently manifests itself on the baseball diamond where York's White Roses feuded Lancaster's Red Roses for the first half of the 20th century. The rivalry continues today with the Atlantic League's York Revolution and Lancaster Barnstormers.

That rivalry hadn't spilled over to Division III lacrosse until last season, when Lancaster's Franklin & Marshall edged upstart York College of Pennsylvania, 7-6.

Traditionally, the teams had been on different trajectories. F&M focused on building a national title contender. York focused on building a program. In 2007, when F&M went undefeated and won its first NCAA championship, York was playing its second season.

It seemed like this year would be different. York, fresh of an NCAA tournament appearance, came into Tuesday's game at F&M ranked No. 9. F&M was ranked No. 13 and was playing its first game under new coach Mike Faith.

But for another year, at least, Franklin & Marshall still owns the area. The Diplomats are back. F&M started off its new era in a familiar way, scoring the first two goals, and never trailing, en route to the 13-6 victory. Maggie Mae Shields had four goals and Mary Mitchell had three goals and one assist to lead F&M (1-0). Kim Wayson scored three goals for York (1-1).

Each team will have plenty more opportunities for signature wins. York has Catholic, Messiah, Mary Washington and Salisbury still on the schedule. F&M faces an even more ridiculous slate. The Dips head to Washington and Lee on Saturday, and if the Generals hadn't fallen out of the Top 20 this week, it would have been Round Two in a stretch of six ranked opponents in seven games.

Looking ahead

Occidental at Chapman, Friday

Among the many benefits of attending college in Southern California is the opportunity to play lacrosse at a time when Northeast teams are still shoveling their fields. In the final week of February, the SCIAC is already well into conference play. It's been a pretty wild season so far.

The conference two years ago sent two teams, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Redlands, to the NCAA tournament. Last year, Occidental took CMS's place and turned the SCIAC into a three-team race. This year, five teams look to have a shot at the league title.

Redlands (5-1), Chapman (4-1), Occidental (3-2), Pomona-Pitzer (3-2) and CMS (2-3), all possess signature wins and tough losses. So far they've just beaten up on each other, but this week several teams will get shots at squads from the East. Before that, one more big conference game looms on Friday.

Last season's party-crasher, Occidental, which lost to CMS and Pomona-Pitzer but beat Redlands, faces this year's upstart, WCLA champion turned SCIAC newcomer Chapman. Chapman has only lost to Redlands. Junior Tori Larson leads Occidental with 19 goals through five games. Victoria Wilkinson has scored 17 in Chapman's first five games.

The win will give one team an early leg up, but the loser shouldn't worry. Every SCIAC team plays each other a second time when conference play starts back up in April.

Game Balls

Lindsay Clinton, Gettysburg
Clinton, a freshman, made seven saves and allowed just two goals in her collegiate debut as No. 4 Gettysburg (1-1) took care of then-No. 13 Mary Washington, 12-2, on Feb. 21. Mary Washington (2-2) reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season and averaged 13.7 goals per game.

Danielle Entrot, McDaniel
Entrot, a freshman, scored five goals, including the game-winner in overtime, as the Green Terror (1-1) pulled one of the season's first Top 20 upsets with a 15-14 win over then-No. 19 Elizabethtown on Saturday. E-Town (1-1) had led 11-7 with 19:26 remaining in the game.

Beebe Finch-Sanders, Occidental
Sanders had seven goals and one assist as Occidental handed Redlands its only loss of the season, 12-9, on Feb. 20. Sanders scored back-to-back goals early in the second half to tie the game and give the Tigers the lead for good. The game was certainly one the Tigers had circled. Redlands beat Oxy four times last season, the only four losses Oxy suffered.

Miscellaneous

Three Division III women's seniors were named to the Tewaaraton Award watch list last week: Salisbury's Katie Bollhorst, Cortland's Maria Di Fato and Trinity's Megan Leonard. All three played in last year's final four at Montclair State, and all three are good bets to be back this year at Stevenson... As always, Salisbury's non-league slate is stacked. The Seagulls defeated Stevenson on Saturday and have Catholic and Washington & Lee up next. The big test comes March 13, against Cortland in Lancaster, Pa. ... Shenandoah (1-0) pulled one of the biggest upsets of the season on Wednesday, taking down Mary Washington 10-9. The victory is the program's first-ever over a ranked team. Liz Bereit had three goals and two assists, Samantha Sisson had three goals and one assist and Ashley Cross made 12 saves for Shenandoah, which trailed only once at 1-0.


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