Feb. 7, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
The Navy women's lacrosse team will open its fifth season of varsity play at High Point on Saturday at 12 noon. The Mids have won back-to-back Patriot League titles and have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past two seasons. Navy (15-6 in 2011) returns nine starters and two All-Americans to the 2012 squad.
Cindy Timchal enters her 30th year as a head coach of a Division I women's lacrosse program. Timchal boasts a career record of 394-105 (.790) and is 58-19 (.753) over her first four years at Navy. Timchal is college lacrosse's all-time leader in career wins and is aiming to become the first college coach to win 400 games.
Timchal's squad features a strong mix of returning veterans and talented newcomers. The squad was recently voted the unanimous favorite to win the Patriot League in 2012, according to the league's preseason poll.
"We have some veteran players back and we feel we have a terrific season ahead of us," said Timchal. "As always, our goal is to vie for a Patriot League title and get into the NCAAs, where a lot of things can happen. We are happy with where we are right now and we are excited to get this season underway."
Junior Jasmine DePompeo (Sayville, N.Y.) returns after a breakout sophomore season in which she ranked third in the nation with 99 points (57 g, 42 a). DePompeo earned All-American honors from WomensLax.com and became the first Midshipman to earn IWLCA All-South Region accolades. DePompeo was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and the tournament's MVP.
"Jasmine had a tremendous growth period between her freshman and sophomore year," said Timchal. "She really made a statement last year in our conference. She gets a lot of double teams and a lot of defensive attention, but she can find the open player and set up her teammates with assists."
DePompeo averaged 4.71 points and her 42 assists on the season set a Navy school record. DePompeo scored nine points in the Patriot League championship game, a new conference tournament record. She has been named the 2012 Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
Joining DePompeo on the offensive attack will be sophomore Aimee Gennaro (Havertown, Pa.). Gennaro ranked second on the team in goals (53) last season and was selected to the All-Patriot League Second Team. Gennaro set a Patriot League record with five consecutive player of the week honors (4 rookie and 1 offensive) in 2011.
Senior Danielle Vivonetto's (Rocky Point, N.Y.) 2011 season was shortened due to an injury, but she still scored seven goals while playing 11 games. Vivonetto will look to return to her 2010 form, when she scored 62 goals as a sophomore and earned All-Patriot League Second Team honors.
Sophomore Molly Hamilton (New Albany, Ohio) scored 22 goals in 2011 and ranked second on the team with 33 draw controls. Hamilton once scored four goals in a five-minute span in Navy's win over Bryant. Sophomore S.A. Fogleman (Kingston, R.I.) returns as well.
Freshman Loren Generi (Bayport, N.Y.) is expected to contribute immediately to the Navy attack. Generi graduated from Bayport Blue-Point High School on Long Island as the school's all-time leader in goals (265).
All-league midfielder Kathy Young (Berwyn, Pa.) ranked third on the team with 46 goals as a sophomore in 2011 and added 30 ground balls and 30 draw controls. Young earned her second career national weekly honor roll accolade last season.
Young's twin sister, Beth Young (Berwyn, Pa.), is also an important factor on the team and will play in the midfield and on defense. Young started 20 games in 2011 and led the team with 19 caused turnovers.
Midfielder Jill Coughlin (Annapolis, Md.) had an impressive freshman campaign, scoring 16 goals with 11 starts. Coughlin added 17 ground balls and 13 draw controls.
Freshman Jess Fellows (Vienna, Va.) of Flint High School is also expected to be a solid contributor to the Navy midfield.
Senior defender Kierstin King (Upperco, Md.) will serve as the 2012 team captain. King earned All-Patriot League First-Team honors in 2011 and was a WomensLacrosse.com Third-Team All-American in 2010.
"Kier is a veteran player and will be our team captain. She brings confidence, leadership and knowledge of our defensive schemes," Timchal said. "She has the ability to read opponents and gets us into our defensive sets. We are going to count on her a lot to lead the defensive unit this season."
King led Navy with 34 ground balls in 2011 and was named to the Patriot League All-Tournament Team.
Including King, Navy will return three of its four starting defenders in 2012, with senior Dominique Wright (Washington, D.C.) and junior Claire Olechowski (Annapolis, Md.) also returning.
Wright became a full-time starter in just her second year of playing organized lacrosse in 2011. Wright grabbed 12 ground balls, caused 11 turnovers and made one of the biggest defensive plays of the season for Navy in their come-from-behind win over Colgate in the league championship game.
Like Wright, Olechowski started all 21 games on defense for Navy in 2011. Olechowski scooped 29 ground balls, caused 18 turnovers and had 10 draw controls.
Brijet Mall (Cumming, Ga.) emerged late in the season on defense and garnered solid minutes down the stretch, especially in the NCAA tournament game against Maryland.
Senior Abby Ellis (Ooltewah, Tenn.) is a veteran defender who has played in 55 career games with 39 career starts. Ellis is tied for fifth in the Navy record books in career games played. Junior Emily Mellin (Sherwood Forest, Md.) returns after playing 19 games on defense and in the midfield in 2011. Mellin tallied two points and six ground balls.
Freshman Molly Nantz (California, Md.), a 2011 US Lacrosse First-Team All-American at Leonardtown High School, will also compete for playing time on defense. Sophomore Sam Dennis (Annapolis, Md.) and senior Meghan Hughes (Stevensville, Md.) will provide depth to the position.
Navy returns all three of its goalies from a year ago. Junior Michelle Verbeeck (Wading River, N.Y.) moved into the starting role for the final eight games of the season, earning wins in the Patriot League semifinals, championship and the NCAA Play-In Game. Verbeeck was 6-2 in 2011 with a 10.68 GAA. Verbeeck was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week on April 18.
Senior Elaina Ponchione (Silver Spring, Md.) started the first 13 games of the season for Navy in 2011. Ponchione sported a 9-4 record with an 8.87 GAA. Ponchione starred in Navy's 9-8 win over Ohio State, making 15 saves in the contest, a school record. Ponchione has started 52 career games in goal at Navy and holds a 36-13 career record.
Junior Charlotte Hauser (Greenfield Center, N.Y.) competed in six games as a backup last season, logging 34 minutes.
Navy will have a 17-game regular season schedule with six Patriot League contests. The Mids will open the 2012 season at High Point on February 11 and will hold its home opener on February 15 against William and Mary. A highlight of the schedule includes a game at Northwestern, the defending national champion, on March 25. The Mids will also play in the only Patriot League televised women's game this season when they host American on April 13. The game will be broadcast by CBS Sports Network.
The four-team Patriot League tournament is scheduled for April 27 and 29. The winner of the tournament will play at the winner of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's champion on May 5 in an NCAA Play-In Game with the winner advancing to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Navy has hosted and won the NCAA Play-In Game in each of the past two seasons.