SUNY Potsdam women's lacrosse team a strong combination of veterans and newcomers

Posted 3/7/11

POTSDAM -- In 2010, the SUNY Potsdam Bears women’s lacrosse team battled to a 6-10 record, including a 2-6 mark in the SUNYAC. The 2011 Bears, under seventh-year head coach Lauren Bruce, are a …

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SUNY Potsdam women's lacrosse team a strong combination of veterans and newcomers


POTSDAM -- In 2010, the SUNY Potsdam Bears women’s lacrosse team battled to a 6-10 record, including a 2-6 mark in the SUNYAC. The 2011 Bears, under seventh-year head coach Lauren Bruce, are a strong combination of veterans and newcomers.

Potsdam returns 14 letterwinners at key positions, including six of last year’s top-eight scorers and two experienced goalkeepers. Bruce sees great potential in this group of Bears and hopes they can bring Potsdam to the next level.

"All the veterans have put a lot of time and energy into developing a stronger program, and we hope the new talent compliments their efforts, and brings us into a postseason tournament," Bruce said.

Among the returnees is the program’s third all-time leading scorer, junior Carly Richards (Niskayuna, N.Y./Niskayuna), who is back to lead the offense. In her two seasons, Richards has 92 goals and 39 assists for 131 points. With two full seasons remaining, Richards needs just 33 more points to pass the Bears’ all-time leading scorer, Alisha Schaad ’08.

Junior midfielder Lisa Seidel (Vancouver, British Columbia/Dr. Charles Best), senior midfielder Samantha Brown (Rochester, N.Y./Eastridge), and junior goalkeeper Kaci Milligan (Liverpool, N.Y./Bishop Ludden) will serve as the Bears’ captains in 2011. Of the trio, Seidel will be a captain for the second straight season, while Brown and Milligan don their Cs for the first time. Bruce admitted the difficulty in choosing captains, but feels Seidel, Brown and Milligan exhibit all the key characteristics of leaders.

"I have team full of leaders, and it was a hard choice for the players and the coaches, but these three student-athletes have proven to all of us that the team comes first,” Bruce said. “Their dedication to the improvement of the program and demanding a better work ethic from the team out-of-season, is something we are really proud of."

All five members of Potsdam’s attack corps are veterans. In addition to Richards, 2010 Bears Rookie of the Year Sierra Langkammerer (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) is back to provide some offensive punch. The junior started 14 games for Potsdam last season, totaling 22 points (20 goals-2 assists-22 points) and picking up 10 ground balls. Junior Maribeth Simmons (Clinton, Conn./The Morgan School) is also back after playing in all 16 games, including 11 starts, for Potsdam. Simmons contributed 17 points (13-4-17) and led the team with 40 ground balls. Junior Whitney Boshart (Calcium, N.Y./Indian River) (6-3-9, 20gb) and sophomore Julie Perna (Buffalo, N.Y./Williamsville North) (2-0-2, 3gb) also return. Bruce is excited to have so much offensive experience back, and has high expectations for the veteran group.

"Our attackers this year have a lot of collegiate experience under their belts and understand how competitive our opponents are, especially in the SUNYAC,” said Bruce. “We are expecting them to show their leadership by controlling the pace of the game and performing well under pressure."

Five returnees form the nucleus of the Bears’ midfielders. Brown (10-4-14, 20gb) and senior Kathleen Frear (Scotia, N.Y./Scotia-Glenville) (2-0-2, 29gb) each started all 15 games they played last season. Junior Aubrey Macintosh (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) started 12 of 15 games and tallied 14 points (9-5-14, 7gb) and Seidel (3-2-5, 17gb) played in 14 games, starting 13. Lone sophomore Erika Olsowske (Seneca Falls, N.Y./Mynderse Academy) rounds out the veterans, with four starts in 15 games and nine ground balls last season.

Two sophomores and two freshmen are new additions at midfield. Sophomore Lizzy Penree (Cooperstown, N.Y./Indian River) is the most experienced of the new Bears. Penree transferred from Cazenovia where she started all 15 games for the Wildcats in 2010 and was their fourth-leading scorer with 24 points (17-7-24). She was also second on the team with 41 groundballs and 23 caused turnovers. Sophomore Hannah Stephan (Waterloo, N.Y./Waterloo) and freshmen Caitlin Matalavage (Burt, N.Y./Newfane) and Dana Molloy (Brewster, N.Y./Brewster) look to make an impact in their first collegiate action.

Two sophomores are back on defense for Potsdam. Shannon Miller (Valley Cottage, N.Y./Albertus Magnus) was a starter in 14 of 15 games, while picking up 12 ground balls and causing three turnovers. North Country native Brittany Coffey (Canton, N.Y./Hugh C. Williams) played in 10 games for the Bears, starting seven. She collected five ground balls, recorded three draw controls and caused one turnover.

Freshman Amanda Hill (Middle Island, N.Y./Longwood) and sophomore Stephanie White (Brasher Falls, N.Y./St. Lawrence) will provide depth for the defense and compete for time on the field in their first season.

After splitting time over the last two seasons, Milligan and senior Sarah Sweeney (Spencerport, N.Y./Spencerport) return to give the Bears a steady presence in goal. Last season, Milligan started 10 of the 14 games she played for Potsdam. She posted a 3-8 record with a 12.64 goals against average, a .465 save percentage and 126 saves in 688:22 minutes. Milligan also picked up 23 ground balls and tied for the team lead with nine caused turnovers. Sweeney made two starts in seven games with a 1-1 record. She compiled a 9.64 goals against average and .433 save percentage with 26 saves in 211.38 minutes.

Freshman Jen Chmiel (Rochester, N.Y./Eastridge) joins the Bears this season looking to push the two veterans for some playing time.

The Bears open their 2011 season with games against New England foes Colby-Sawyer and Bridgewater State in West Palm, Fla., on March 7-8. In addition to the usual challenging SUNYAC schedule featuring nationally-ranked Cortland and Brockport, Potsdam battles Central New York rivals Cazenovia, Utica and Morrisville. The Bears also face three Liberty League opponents in Clarkson, St. Lawrence and Rensselaer