Lady Cats are hopeful going into 2009 campaign

Coming off a season in which they exceeded expectations by placing second in America East play, the UVM women’s lacrosse team was picked third in the conference preseason coaches’ poll recently.

When asked about the preseason ranking, head coach Jen Johnson said that is was a good place to start.

“I definitely think that’s a very fair starting point,” Johnson said. “I’m pleased that we’re finally getting the respect and the recognition, having finished second last year when we were picked sixth in the preseason. And just knowing we are returning 90 percent of our scoring, it’s a great starting point for us and hopefully we can do even better this season.”

Johnson was recognized last season as the America East coach of the year, an honor voted on by fellow coaches around the league and a testament to how well the team has preformed under her direction.

But even after last year’s success, she said still feels this team can accomplish even more, especially with a talented group of underclassmen.

“I think even last year we had a really young team, and we have nine newcomers this year, four of which are starting for us right now,” Johnson said. “So I think just getting experience and building off of team chemistry is going to be key for us this year.”

Despite the fact that the team is lacking an upperclassmen presence, senior co-captain and America East player of the week Kristen Millar is set to break records in both draw controls and scoring this season.

“I guess I’m excited about the possibility of breaking those records and that would mean that our team is being successful and winning those big games,” Millar said. “I think this is a season where that can all happen and being able to put that all together – that’d be a great way for me to end my career here at UVM.”

Millar also thinks the underclassmen will play a major roll.

“I think its great that we’re starting freshman,” she said. “It just means that we’re recruiting more and more talented players and that says a lot about our program.”

Among the underclassmen, sophomore tri-captain Megan MacDonald is coming off of a prolific season and was named freshman of the year in the America East last season.

After her successful freshman campaign, MacDonald was awarded one of the three captain position, an honor that she said surprised her.

“I was actually shocked, I didn’t expect it at all,” Macdonald said. “But at the same time it is a huge honor, and I have Millar and Buxton as co-captains and they’re both incredible players and incredible leaders, and I’m hoping to learn from them.”

The team won their opening game at UConn on Feb. 21 before dropping their home opener against No. 15 Dartmouth, 16-10.

On Saturday, the Lady Cats fell to Holy Cross in a double OT thriller, 10-9.

The Lady Cats face off at home against Siena on March 4.

Women’s lacrosse 2009 schedule

MarchWed 4 _- vs. Siena 3 p.m.Sun 8 – @ Oregon 4 p.m.Wed 11 – @ UC Davis 10 p.m.Sat 14 – @ California 3 p.m.Sat 21 – @ Binghamton 12 p.m.Sun 22 – @ LeMoyne 2 p.m.Wed 25 – vs. Boston College 3 p.m.Sat 28 – vs. UMBC 11 a.m.

AprilWed 1 – @ Albany 3 p.m.Sat 11 – vs. BU 3 p.m.Sat 18 – @ New Hampshire 1 p.m.Tue 2 – vs. Long Island Univ. 4 p.m.Sat 25 – vs. Stony Brook 1 p.m.

Bold = home game