Sports

Talented, deep roster promises robust results for women’s lacrosse

Team returns proficient goalie Roddy ’15, leading scorer Hudgins ’14 and six other starters

By
Sports Staff Writer
Friday, February 21, 2014

Home games against Iona College and Sacred Heart University this weekend mark the end of preseason training and the start of a new campaign for the women’s lacrosse team. The Bears graduated only four seniors in 2013, returning eight starters and adding eight rookies to a team balanced with experience and depth.

The team will look to players like four-year starter and co-captain Bre Hudgins ’14 to power the offense. She can score goals — lots of them. Hudgins comes into the season with 121 career goals, including 37 last year alone. She also dished out 12 assists to lead the team in scoring with 49 points. Opponents should also be wary of midfielder and co-captain Abby Bunting ’15, who collected 32 goals last season and scored in all but one game.

Bruno also possesses a formidable defensive lineup. Co-captain Erin Roos ’14, whose 58 career caused turnovers rank her seventh in Brown’s history, will anchor the team’s defense and make opponents work for their goals. Goalie Kellie Roddy ’15 will return after leading the Ivy League in goals against average, making several crucial saves at high pressure moments for the Bears last season.

The team will look for contributions from its other two co-captains, Grace Healy ’14 and Abbey Van Horne ’14. Van Horne, another four-year starter, will be key to Brown’s defensive efforts, earning 10 ground balls last season and racking up seven caused turnovers. Healy smashed Brown’s draw control, or faceoff win, record last season and she looks to be a threatening presence again this season.

But upperclassmen will not be the squad’s only assets. With a first-year class that is eight strong, the Bears’ new blood will prove an advantage on the field.

“We have a lot of (first-years) who are willing to step in right away,” said Head Coach Keely McDonald ’00. “It’s going to be a fresh squad even with strong returners.”

The Bears have been busy in the offseason. They held their first team practice Feb. 1 and have been training in all sorts of weather — including snow — ever since. McDonald cited the team’s work ethic and determination as key strong points going into the season. The players focus on improving by being competitive every day in practice drills and scrimmages, McDonald said.

“Everything has a winner and loser,” she said. “That prepares us best for the season.”

McDonald said team chemistry will also work in the Bears’ favor. The team makes an effort in the offseason to bond and connect as much as possible, she said.

“From day one, we’ve been pushing one another every day to show up and be our best while supporting and loving each other unconditionally off the field,” Maeve Flaherty ’16 wrote in an email to The Herald. “The tone that our captains and senior class have set for our team has been extraordinary and inspires the team everyday.”

The 2013 team went 9-6 overall and 2-5 in the Ivy League, placing it in a tie for fifth in the final Ivy League standings. Bruno ended the year with two tough losses: a nail-biting overtime defeat to first-place Penn, which would go on to win the conference championship, and a narrow loss to Yale in the final game of the season. Despite finishing on a four-game losing streak, the Bears posted a strong year overall, demonstrating their ability to hang with the top teams in the league. Of five Ivy losses, four were by three goals or fewer. The team improved on 2012’s 1-6 conference record. The squad comes back this year seeking redemption and with high hopes.

“We want to build off of every game and get better every day,” McDonald said.

Brown will host Iona Saturday and Sacred Heart Sunday in its first two games of the season. Saturday’s faceoff will also be Iona’s first game of the season. McDonald said she expected the Gaels to exhibit “scrappy and feisty” play.

The Bears have dominated Sacred Heart in past years but have not faced Iona in recent history.