Nov. 11, 2005
Worcester, Mass. - The Holy Cross women's lacrosse team recently concluded its unofficial Fall season and is now gearing up for the 2006 campaign. Led by fourth year head coach Stephanie Pavlick, the 2006 Crusaders are looking to avenge last season's Patriot League championship game loss to Colgate and take home the league crown for the first time in program history.
In 2005, the Crusaders (10-9 overall) finished second in the Patriot League with a 4-2 mark in conference play and earned the number two seed in the conference tournament. They advanced to the program's second-ever championship game after an 11-10 win over American in the quarterfinals of the tournament, but lost to Colgate, 11-4 in the title game. Holy Cross was one of just two teams to post a winning record in the seven-team Patriot League last season.
The past two months, Holy Cross has seen the likes of Boston College, Colgate, Fairfield, Manhattan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart in Fall season tournament play. All of the scrimmages were held at sites away from the Holy Cross campus.
"We played several teams this Fall that we will see again during the regular season," said Pavlick. "Overall, we got a good idea of what we need to do and what we need to fix to raise our level of our play as we prepare for the Spring."
Holy Cross began the Fall season with a tournament at the University of Massachusetts, then traveled to the University of New Hampshire five days later for the Wildcats' Fall Play Day. The Crusaders took a trip to Hamden, Connecticut for a match-up with Quinnipiac in mid-October and closed out the Fall campaign with an all-day tournament hosted by Fairfield University.
"We have a good amount of upperclassmen and senior leadership in this team and a load of talented freshmen, who are all vying for playing time so we are excited to get things going," said Pavlick. "We have also added some new teams to our schedule this year (George Mason on Mar. 16, Oregon on Apr. 13) which will be a great challenge for us. Playing a tougher schedule will only help us in the long run when Patriot League games begin."
Offensively, the team will be led by two-time All-Patriot League honoree Patricia Sutton (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.). Last season, Sutton led the League in goals (51) and points (64), and was second in points per game (3.76) and free-position goals (0.82). She amassed 64 points from the midfield and had 32 more points than the next closest player on the Holy Cross roster. The junior midfielder finished the regular season ranked 20th nationally with a 3.00 goals per game average.
"Patricia is the top returning goal scorer in the League, and we expect her to have another strong season. She is faster and stronger this year than she has ever been and she continues to get better. She will again be the top mark for all of the defenses we play, but we expect her to rise to the challenge."
Senior midfielder Carolyn Smirti (Huntington, N.Y.) is also a player to watch in 2006. Recently voted as team co-captain (along with junior Megan Orr), Smirti will look to take some of the scoring burden off the shoulders of Sutton. Last season, Smirti started all 19 games and was second on the team in both goals (30 goals) and total points (36 points.). She finished second on the team in assists with six.
"Carolyn has been a consistently solid player and one of our top goal scorers the past few years," said Pavlick. "She has the ability to produce offensively and is one of our stronger defenders. As a captain this season, she and Megan need to get everyone to understand that this year is going to be much more difficult because of the success we had last year. The way Carolyn and the other seniors lead this team is going to play an important part in how the season goes for us."
The Crusaders are also returning the 2005 Patriot League Rookie of the Year in sophomore forward Amy Archambault (West Hartford, Conn.). A three-time Patriot League Rookie of the Week selection last season, Archambault finished the year ranked third on the team in scoring with 24 goals and two assists for 26 total points.
Archambault was the third player in Holy Cross women's lacrosse history to win the Rookie of the Year award, and the school's second straight Rookie of the Year, as Sutton was selected the league's top freshman in 2004.
Fellow sophomore Kristine Corkum (Ipswich, Mass.) is also expected to take her game to a new level this season. A Patriot League Rookie of the Week (April 11) selection last year, Corkum finished the season tied for first on the team in assists (seven assists), tied for fourth on the team in total points (20 points) and tied for fifth on the team in goals (13 goals).
"Kristine came into the year even faster and stronger than she was last year," said Pavlick. "She is definitely a player to look out for this season and we are looking for her to step up and produce."
On the defensive side of the ball, Holy Cross once again has high hopes for junior goalkeeper Megan Orr (Wilton, Conn.), who earned 2005 IWLCA/US Lacrosse All-Region Second Team honors a year ago. A First Team All-Patriot League selection, Orr was named the League's first ever Goalkeeper of the Year after a stellar sophomore campaign in net. She finished the season ranked in the Top 10 nationally with a .571 save percentage (fifth), while leading the league in saves (208) and saves per game (11.18).
A two-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week selection (Apr.11, Apr. 18), Orr also finished the season ranked second in the league with an 8.69 goals against average, a category she had been ranked nationally in earlier this season. The Connecticut native fell just 10 saves shy of cracking into the PL Top 10 for saves in a single season.
"Megan is in a different situation this season because she is a captain now. She is going to be a three-year starter and her solid game experience in goal is invaluable to us. She is a very focused player and I think the fact that she is a captain as a junior will force her to become a better player."
The Holy Cross roster also has eight newcomers, including six freshman and two upperclassmen, and Pavlick is confident that they will mix in to the rotation well and provide depth at all positions. Freshman midfielder Calley Benoit (Concord, N.H.) impressed the coaching staff this Fall and Pavlick has high expectations for a productive season out of her as a rookie.
Holy Cross will start the year with a 1:00 p.m. match-up against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday, February 25.
For all the latest updates on the women's lacrosse team or any of the College's 26 other varsity sports, log on to www.GoHolyCross.com.