By Byron Mitchell '14
WINCHESTER, Va. - Coach Lindsey Lutz and the Shenandoah University women's lacrosse team prepare for a new stage of competition this spring with the squad's first season of competition in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
Shenandoah completed its final season in the USA South in fine fashion – the Hornets recorded program-record 13 wins on season and made its second-ever appearance in the tournament championship game.
Lutz, preparing her fifth season at the helm of the program, now guides her team into the more competitive ODAC environment.
"We have to come into the season prepared to face the competition in the ODAC, and that means being faster, stronger and more disciplined than in the past," sophomore Liz Bereit said.
With so many talented teams in this league, Lutz expects her club to be in a battle in every contest. "We are all excited about the stronger competition in the ODAC—it will make us better and challenge us," Lutz said.
This year's roster is young but talented group with seven upperclassmen returning on the 19-woman roster.
Two-time All-USA South honoree Samantha Sisson, a three-year starter for the Hornets at midfield, anchors the squad.
Sisson is coming off another outstanding season as she led her team in goals scored, 63; draw controls, 69, and groundballs, 33, on her way to being named first team All-USA South and to the Chesapeake All-Region team.
Sisson's classmate, Ashley Cross, returns for her third season as the starting goalkeeper.
Last spring Cross accounted for 143 saves and helped the defense to allow just 6.71 goals per contest. This gave SU the fifth best scoring defense in the nation.
Like Sisson, Cross was named first team All-USA South and to the Chesapeake All-Region team.
Bereit, the 2012 USA South Rookie of the Year, will also play a key role for SU this season at midfield.
She was named the league's Rookie of the Week for five consecutive weeks and earned All-USA South accolades at seasons end.
The season gets underway Wednesday Feb. 27, as the Hornets take on Mary Washington in a 4 p.m. matchup.