March 4, 2013

Scots Again Expected to be One of the Best in NCAC

Shawna Ferris

Shawna Ferris will be a four-year starter for
the Scots, and is one of the best goalkeepers
in the NCAC. 

Despite the graduation of three all-conference players, including one of the best goal-scorers in program history, The College of Wooster women's lacrosse team has the talent and depth in place to finish among the top-three teams in the North Coast Athletic Conference for a 14th year in a row, and even more so, compete for its seventh conference championship of the 2000's.

"We lost some key players in last year's senior group, but the girls we have now that played with them have that same potential," said eighth-year head coach Elizabeth Ford. "Last year, we relied a lot on one person (Madison Carey), but we're going to be a lot more well-rounded on the attacking end. We have people that are ready to step up and take shots. Everyone will be a threat."

It's no secret that Clare Nelson-Johnson will headline the new-look group, as she was right there with Carey statistically last year. The senior totaled 75 points, the third-most in the NCAC, which came on 56 goals and 19 assists, and was also among the league's best on draw controls (68), while chipping in 39 groundballs and eight caused turnovers during her breakout season. Those efforts earned her a spot on the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association All-West Region Team (second-team), as well as her third all-conference selection (first-team).

She'll get plenty of help on the offensive end, as the Scots are deep at the attack and midfield positions, with Shelby Stone, Eliza Perry, Cassie Greenbaum, and Sophia Hoover Grant all expected to be difference makers. Stone burst onto the scene as a freshman last year, starting all 18 games and registering 53 points (31 goals, 22 assists), the third-most on the team and 10th highest total in the NCAC. She also added 34 groundballs and 20 draw controls, and will have a chance to improve on those numbers with the loss of similarly-speedy all-conference midfielder Jaqueline Wallat to graduation.

Perry, a junior with unique height and athleticism, became a full-time starter last year, after playing mostly off the bench as a freshman, and responded with 32 goals and 14 assists. Greenbaum, who was named NCAC Newcomer of the Year in 2011, made her mark on the defensive side of the ball last season with 44 groundballs and 22 caused turnovers, and also was a standout on draw controls (53). This year, she is expected to contribute more as a scorer, adding to her 36 career goals. Hoover Grant was the team's leading-scorer off the bench (11 goals) as a freshman, and is in contention to start at a number of different positions as a sophomore.

Also returning to add depth, likely in an attacking role, are sophomores Ashley Parry and Shannan Pullara. Parry tallied 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists) in just nine games off the bench a year ago, while Pullara saw action at a number of positions, but has the tools to be an "offensive threat."

The Scots have the luxury of fielding two defenders with the ability to factor in on the offensive end as well. The first being sophomore Molly Sennett, who was one of only two rookies to be chosen to the All-West Region Team (second-team) in 2012, and added first-team all-conference laurels to boot. Sennett led the Scots and was among the league's best with 48 groundballs and 27 caused turnovers, but she also became an offensive weapon late in the season when she scored eight of her 14 goals during the final five games.

Similar to Sennett, Alison Schlothauer was strong defensively with 40 groundballs and 15 caused turnovers, while adding 10 goals and four assists as well. Those two will be joined by more traditional defenders, seniors Kari Martyniak and Lauren Vargo, both returning starters, as well as sophomore Emily Turnbull, who has worked her way into the mix for more playing time after showing potential in 13 games last season.

Finally, goalkeeper Shawna Ferris, who has never missed a start (50 games) in her career, returns to give Wooster one of the best goalkeeping options in the NCAC. Ferris stands just 5-2, but has been successful using her speed and athleticism to cut down opposing attacks. Last year, Ferris earned her third consecutive all-conference certificate (honorable mention) after posting a career-best .466 save percentage, a number she'll look to further improve on during her senior campaign.

The Scots also welcome 10 newcomers to the program, including transfer Ellie Hudson-Heck and Abby Szlachta, whom have impressed the coaching staff early on.