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HANOVER, N.H. – Winter is almost over.

At least that’s the mentality many have when the calendars change over to February. The cold days ahead start to dwindle, replaced by the number of cold days behind, all while the afternoon light lasts longer.

And lacrosse season starts.

For the Dartmouth women and second-year head coach Danielle Spencer, the 2018 season can’t come soon enough. On Saturday, Feb. 17, the waiting will be over as the road to a 12th Ivy League title begins for this year’s Dartmouth women’s lacrosse team.

ATTACK
There is no shortage of players competing for time on the front line this season. In all, 11 players on this year’s roster are listed at attack, vying for a limited number of spots on the field at any one time.

With a wealth of depth and playing time not guaranteed, players will have to push themselves and their teammates to get better.

“The attack is the most competitive area we have this year,” Spencer said. “There are a lot of attackers competing for playing time. This is going to make them work that much harder and make themselves better every day, which will help our team get better as a whole.”

The attack is also a good mix of veterans and youth as there are six upperclassmen and five underclassmen in the group. Leading the way in terms of returning scorers is junior Kierra Sweeney and her 35 points. Her 21 goals a season ago ranked fourth on the team, but third among returning players, demonstrating how much scoring the team is bringing back. Sweeney was also the Green’s top passer, finishing the season with 14 assists.

No.  Player Pos. Hgt. Cl.  Hometown (Previous School)
4 Schuyler Bixby A 5-3 Fr. Chatham, N.J. (Chatham)
9 Elizabeth Jacobs A 6-0 Sr. Princeton, N.J. (Princeton HS)
12 Michelle Yu A 5-2 Fr. Oyster Bay, N.Y. (Oyster Bay)
14 Tori Chanenchuk A 5-5 So. Newton, Mass. (Noble and Greenough)
17 Isabel Taben A 5-3 Jr. New Canaan, Conn. (New Canaan)
18 Campbell Brewer A 5-10 Jr. Richmond, Va. (Collegiate School)
20 Ellie Carson A 5-5 So. Alexandria, Va. (St. Stephen's & St. Agnes)
25 Kierra Sweeney A 5-4 Jr. Oakton, Va. (James Madison HS)
28 Cara DePippo A 5-3 Sr. Manhasset, N.Y. (Manhasset)
30 Kellen D'Alleva A 5-8 Jr. Manhasset, N.Y. (Manhasset)
33 Sarah Ross A 5-5 So. Cranford, N.J. (Cranford)


MIDFIELD

On the surface, one can make the claim that the attack is the most important position because it produces the scoring. Some might argue that goalkeepers or defense are the most crucial part of the field because doing their jobs well keeps the other team from producing goals.

Though underrated, the versatility of a team’s midfield and what those players can do all over the field makes it the key component to a successful season.

This can be seen rather easily in the make-up of the Big Green. The midfield is where juniors Kathryn Giroux and Elizabeth Mastrio play, two players recognized last season by the Ivy League coaches with spots on the second team (Giroux) and honorable mention squad (Mastrio).

There were few players better on the draw last season than Giroux, whose 108 draw controls as a sophomore in 2017 not only broke the Dartmouth single-season record, but also set a new Ivy standard in the process — helping to earn her a spot on the ‘Top-10 Division I Players to Watch’ list announced by New England Lacrosse Journal.

Her 13 draws against Cornell on April 15 were not only a new program record, but also the most by any player in the history of the league in an Ivy matchup. Giroux became just the second player in league history with 100-plus draw controls in a season, a huge part of Dartmouth’s possessions and something Spencer preaches every day.

“Kathryn has to remain humble and continue to do what she had done that made her successful,” Spencer remarked. “Players know what she is capable of and they will be ready to play. She is going to get her opponents’ best effort every game and with hard work and focus she will be ready.”

In her second season with the Big Green, Mastrio was second on the team in both goals (28) and points (39), while tied for second in assists (11). An ace on the free-position shot, the then-sophomore finished with 17 goals from the 8-meter arc in 2017, the most of any player in the Ivy League. With continued development, Mastrio factors into being one of the best midfielders in the conference.

Additionally, the team will have seniors Larson Bennett, Sophie Davidson and Katie O’Neill for veteran leadership and depth at the position. Sophomores Sophia Turchetta and Katie Bourque are also back with the latter posting 16 caused turnovers in her rookie season, tied for the team lead.

Freshman Claire Marshall has impressed the coaching staff with her work ethic during her first preseason in the Upper Valley. Toughness and grit are a staple of her game that will bring an edge and level of physicality to the team's play in the mdifield.

No.  Player Pos. Hgt. Cl.  Hometown (Previous School)
6 Larson Bennett M 5-6 Sr. Providence, R.I. (Lincoln School)
8 Claire Marshall M 5-5 Fr. New Canaan, Conn. (Choate Rosemary Hall)
11 Elizabeth Mastrio M 5-4 Jr. Wilbraham, Mass. (Minnechaug Regional)
16 Sophia Turchetta M 5-5 So. Harvard, Mass. (The Bromfield School)
19 Sophie Davidson M 5-7 Sr. Alexandria, Va. (St. Stephen's & St. Agnes)
22 Katie Bourque M 5-7 So. Ridgewood, N.J. (Ridgewood)
23 Kathryn Giroux M 5-7 Jr. Summit, N.J. (Kent Place School)
24 Katie O'Neill M 5-7 Sr. Garden City, N.J. (St. Anthony's)
27 Veta Mayer M 5-7 Fr. Providence, R.I. (Wheeler School)
39 Gabrielle McCarthy M 5-5 Fr. Sudbury, Mass. (Noble and Greenough)

DEFENSE
On the backend, Spencer will have eight true defenders on defense in addition to sophomore Natalee Palmer and freshman Emma Lesko who can play there as well as in the midfield.

Three juniors, a pair of sophomores and freshmen and one senior make up the defensive unit. Sophomore Katie White has made great strides in the fall, stepping up her game Spencer noted during preseason. Now in their third year, Lauren D’Amico, Lindsay Frumer and Kristen Maiorano are ready to handle a heavier workload as they each have two years of experience to build upon.

Spencer is looking forward to what twins Hailey Ricciardi and Riley Ricciardi can bring not only to the defensive unit, but also to the team as a whole.

“Having sisters on the team helps create a fun, family environment for everyone,” the second-year head coach said. “They’re already comfortable because they have someone out there that they know so well and I think that mentality begins to spread to the entire team.”

No.  Player Pos. Hgt. Cl.  Hometown (Previous School)
3 Kate White D 5-5 So. Villanova, Pa. (Agnes Irwin School)
7 Polly Carter D 5-8 So. Concord, N.H. (The Derryfield School)
10 Ellie Bennett D 5-10 Sr. Darien, Conn. (Darien)
21 Kristen Maiorano D 5-3 Jr. Chatham, N.J. (Chatham)
26 Lauren D'Amico D 5-7 Jr. Westfield, N.J. (Westfield)
31 Lindsay Frumer D 5-3 Jr. Wayne, Pa. (Radnor)
32 Hailey Ricciardi D 5-7 Fr. Ridgewood, N.J. (Ridgewood)
34 Riley Ricciardi D 5-4 Fr. Ridgewood, N.J. (Ridgewood)

GOALKEEPERS
Kiera Vrindten took over the role of starting goalkeeper as a rookie in 2017, playing over 800 minutes in the circle. The New Jersey native turned aside 150 shots during her first season, a figure that ranks as the sixth-best single-season total in program history.

Sophomore Charlotte Wahle played every minute of her freshman season in 2016 and made four appearances with one start last year, picking up a road victory at Siena in March.

With two experienced goalkeepers already on the roster, Spencer also brings in freshman Katie Foreman, giving the Green and White three options in goal for the first time since the 2014 campaign.

No.  Player Pos. Hgt. Cl.  Hometown (Previous School)
1 Charlotte Wahle GK 5-7 Jr. Olney, Md. (Our Lady of Good Counsel)
36 Katie Forman GK 5-4 Fr. Duxbury, Mass. (Duxbury)
40 Kiera Vrindten GK 5-7 So. Warren, N.J. (Watchung Hills Regional)

SCHEDULE
A series of fall-ball tournaments helped prepare the Big Green for what they will see in the regular season as they faced off against nine teams in outside competition.

That regular season officially kicks off Saturday, Feb. 17, when the team heads to the University of Massachusetts.

“UMass is the perfect team to open up against because they’re so good,” Spencer said. “I want us to play the best teams early on in the year to prepare us for the Ivy games that follow. Columbia is a good test for us in our conference opener and is a game we will most definitely be ready for.”

The home opener comes on Wednesday, Feb. 21 against in-state rival UNH. The aforementioned contest with the Lions to open Ivy play is in Hanover on Saturday, March 3.

All-time, Dartmouth has 98 more wins than losses (194-96-1) at home, so protecting Scully-Fahey Field is always a priority. However, after an 0-7 record on the road in 2016, a 5-2 mark in true road games last season was a stark difference and should give the team confidence that it can play with anyone in any setting moving forward.

Date Day  Opponent  Location Time
Feb. 17 Sat Massachusetts at Amherst, Mass. 1:00 p.m.
Feb. 21 Wed New Hampshire Hanover, N.H. 3:00 p.m.
Feb. 28 Wed UAlbany at Albany, N.Y. 2:00 p.m.
March 3 Sat Columbia * Hanover, N.H. 12:00 p.m.
March 16 Fri Hofstra at Hempstead, N.Y. 5:00 p.m.
March 21 Wed Jacksonville at Jacksonville, Fla. 4:00 p.m.
March 24 Sat Princeton * at Princeton, N.J. 1:00 p.m.
March 31 Sat Harvard * at Cambridge, Mass. 1:00 p.m.
April 7 Sat Penn * Hanover, N.H. 12:00 p.m.
April 11 Wed Boston College at Chestnut Hill, Mass. 4:00 p.m.
April 14 Sat Cornell * at Ithaca, N.Y. 1:00 p.m.
April 18 Wed Vermont Hanover, N.H. 3:00 p.m.
April 21 Sat Yale * Hanover, N.H. 3:00 p.m.
April 25 Wed UMass Lowell Hanover, N.H. 3:00 p.m.
April 28 Sat Brown * at Providence, R.I. 12:00 p.m.

CAPTAINS
Sophie Davidson was named the team’s captain during the preseason and will assume the leadership role for the Big Green as a senior. Classmate and fellow midfielder Larson Bennett will serve as an assistant captain.

Davidson is the first Virginia native named a team captain since Kristen Zimmer ’06 during the 2006 season. Both Davidson and Zimmer played at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes before coming to Dartmouth.

Sophie Davidson Larson Bennett


COACHES

It’s not just the 10 members of the Class of 2021 that will make up the new faces on the sidelines this season as Spencer also added a pair of assistant coaches to her staff.

Joining Nicole Price as an assistant coach is Nicole Flores, who came to Hanover after a season with Trinity and helping the Bantams reach the Division II national semifinals. Morgan McDonald jumps aboard Spencer’s staff as a volunteer assistant after several successful seasons as a high school coach in both Texas and Ohio, winning state titles in each place.

Spencer is now in her second year as head coach, just the fourth in the program’s history entering its 46th season.

Head Coach
Danielle Spencer
Assistant Coach
Nicole Price
Assistant Coach
Nicole Flores
VolunteerAssistant Coach
Morgan McDonald