2020 Season Preview
The Haverford College women's lacrosse team opens up the 2020 season on Saturday after emerging on the national stage a season ago. The Fords put themselves on the radar with a thrilling early season home victory over then-No. 3 TCNJ, hovering around the national rankings for the remainder of the season and charging into a true road game in the Centennial Conference tournament first round contest with Dickinson, upending the No. 22 Red Devils to clinch a berth in the semifinals.
The Fords will eye a return to that level behind a hungry senior class. The departed class of 2019 featured key contributors such as All-Region selection Allie Gibbons (69 goals) and Rina Rosnow (29 goals in just nine games), but Haverford returns four All-Centennial Conference players from a season ago as first-team defender Anna Meyers joins Emily Krupnick and Maeve Gaffney as all-conference honorees to step into the captaincy in 2020. The program's all-time assists leader, Julia Manetta, is also back for her senior season after an IWLCA All-Region campaign a season ago. Haverford has made the postseason in seven of the past 10 seasons, including each of head coach Katie Zichelli's first two years leading the program.
Attack: The forward line figures to be one of the strongest units for the Fords, as the high-octane offense recorded four 20+ goal games a season ago. The unit returns key contributors Manetta (16 goals, program-record 64 assists), Hailey Morris (32 goals), Julia Pascarella (26 goals, 34 assists), Hannah Lopez (eight goals), and Belle McMahon (seven goals).
Midfield: A formidable middies group is paced by seniors Gaffney (28 goals, 32 draw controls, 17 caused turnovers, 18 ground balls), Olivia DiRienz (43 draw controls, 10 caused turnovers, 12 ground balls), and Eliza Brosgol (15 draw controls, 11 ground balls). Junior Courtney Cubbin collected 13 ground balls a season ago, while Roma Hladky, Callie Crawford, and Abby Wolfenden all proved to be vital reserves in their first year campaigns and will look to expand on those roles into their sophomore seasons.
Defense: The fortified defensive unit is headlined by Meyers (30 caused turnovers, 36 ground balls) and Krupnick (16 caused turnovers, 37 ground balls) as the senior co-captains both picked up All-Conference nods last season with a lockdown effort that was routinely on display in close victories down the stretch. With the addition of the possession clock to the collegiate game, Haverford's pressure often forced teams into poor shots or outright possession clock violations in an effort to evade the pressure. Isabel Canning (14 caused turnovers) and Caroline Alexis (nine caused turnovers, 20 ground balls) also both started every game on the back line last season, while Maria Krieg and Claire DuBois served as crucial reserves in their first year campaigns.
Goalkeeping: Amelia Slade returns for her junior season after starting all 18 games a season ago. Slade was fourth in the Centennial Conference in save percentage (47.3), and was the conference leader in saves (181) during a breakout sophomore season. Sarah Cahn saw time in five games as a rookie a season ago, while Tatiana Lathion is the lone senior in the group, with a wealth of relief experience between the pipes and eight career starts to her ledger.
The Poll: Haverford has been picked third in the 2020 Centennial Conference preseason poll. The annual preseason prognostication is voted on solely by the conference's 10 head coaches. Haverford received a total of 61 total voting points, behind only top 10 nationally ranked squads from Gettysburg and Franklin & Marshall.
The Schedule: Haverford will be tested immediately, with a home contest against a solid Moravian side in the home opener (Feb. 22) serving as a prelude to a rematch against No. 13 TCNJ in Ewing on February 29. Before entering the Centennial Conference gauntlet, Haverford also hosts No. 20 Scranton, looking to avenge a loss in the Electric City last season (Mar. 7). The spring break trip sees the Fords head south, taking on St. Mary's (Md.) (Mar. 11), before heading to the Hampton Roads area for a battle at Christopher Newport (Mar. 14). The Centennial slate includes a highly anticiapted matchup at home against No. 7 Franklin & Marshall (Mar. 28) and a trip to No. 4 Gettysburg (Apr. 11).