The Rowan lacrosse team made great strides last season, finishing second in the New Jersey Athletic Conference with an 11-6 overall record and 4-1 in conference. The team also made an appearance in the NCAA tournament, though they lost in the first round.
The Profs are poised to build on that strong season, returning all but one starter from last year’s lineup.
“This season should be one of the strongest we’ve ever had,” said midfielder Jamie Blondina. “We only graduated one starter, which is Shannon O’Brien, and we lost her in the midfield, but other than that we look stronger than ever.”
Blondina will be entering her third year as a starter in the midfield and was the second leading scorer last year with 49 goals. She will help lead the scoring this season along with Becca Wood who had a team-high 83 goals last season and has also been a starter since her freshman year.
“Jamie and Becca weren’t typical freshmen,” said head coach Lindsay Delaney. “They didn’t come in and take a backseat watch. They were impact players from the start.”
Despite only losing three seniors, Rowan will enter the season with a very small roster of only 19 players, as 11 players from last year’s team are not returning.
“We had a lot of people decide not to come back to the program because we are demanding more from them,” Delaney said. “Despite that, it seems like they’ve been together forever because the freshmen are falling right in line, transfers are falling right in line and upperclassmen are doing a great job.”
Rachel Emerson is one of those transfers and she is going to get a chance to play a major role on the team. Delaney says she will be plugged into the attacking unit.
“So far, we’ve been meshing really well together on attack and defense,” Emerson said. “We’re just getting to know everyone through fall ball and the beginning of the season, and we all work well together and know how each other plays.”
While the Profs obviously want to make a deeper run this season after falling 17-5 in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Gettysburg College, the mentality is to not look too far ahead.
“We’re definitely taking it step by step, game by game and not looking too far into the season,” attack Marisa Micciche said. “We’re just focusing on every practice so we can put ourselves in a good spot in the future.”
Micciche will be entering her final season for Rowan, coming off of a year in which she was the third leading scorer with 24 goals.
The Profs were selected to finish third in the NJAC after coming in second last year, but Delaney and company don’t pay much attention to pre-season rankings. In their opening game of the 2014 season, the Profs defeated Goucher College 17-5 on Feb. 25.
“We won the NJAC in 2010 and finished second in all the following years,” Delaney said. “They vote how they vote [in the poll] and we’ll play how we play and it’ll all figure itself out in the end.”