UMBC Adds 12 Newcomers to the 2012-2013 Lacrosse Roster

"From the first time that we watched Megan play we knew there was something special there," admitted Giro. "She is an outstanding athlete and will help us all over the field. We expect great things from her in terms of ground balls and draw controls."

Zabel, a 2012 Under Armour All-American and a Greater Baltimore Regional All-American, helped Marriotts Ridge High School to a Howard County and District V Championship last season, leading a defense that allowed 3.9 goals per game. During her junior season, Zabel was named one of ESPN's "Top Ten Defenders" and an ESPN All-American Honorable Mention, playing a major role in the Mustangs' state championship victory.

"We are excited to add another Under Armour All-American to our roster," Giro said. "Anne is a lockdown defender who allows us to play more straight-up on the defensive end of the field. We expect Anne to make game-changing plays for us from goal line-to-goal line."

Benzing and Milani each follow in the footsteps of their mothers, each having played for the Retrievers under head coach Kathy Zerrlaut. Benzing, a dual-sport athlete at Centennial, proved to be a fierce competitor during her time with the Eagles. Despite suffering a knee injury during her junior season and missing the basketball campaign, the Ellicott City, Md., native returned to earn All-Metro Honorable Mention and All-County Second Team honors as a junior in lacrosse.

"Rachel should be fully recovered from injury by the time we hit the field this fall," Giro explained. "We think she has the ability to fill a point-guard-esque role for us in that she can get us into offensive sets, she understands game tempo, has the ability to score and makes correct decisions with the ball."

Milani played three seasons of varsity lacrosse at Glenelg High School, earning All-County honors in both lacrosse and field hockey as a junior.

"Megan is a tough, hard-nosed, on the ball defender," Giro said. "She understands angles and is just as adept off the ball as she is on the ball. She comes to us with a tremendous understanding of how we want to play defensively."

Sam Nolan (Fallston, Md./Fallston) and Paulina Christ (Bel Air, Md./Fallston) come to UMBC after being high school and North East Maryland Select Lacrosse Club (NEMS) teammates. Nolan earned Under Armour All-American distinctions as a junior at Fallston High School, as the two helped the Cougars to a state championship run. Nolan, a standout for the field hockey team, was a two-time First Team All-County and All-Conference honoree, while Christ, a member of the state championship soccer team, was named the team's "Key Returner" in back-to-back seasons. The duo also added a national club championship with the NEMS in 2012.

"Sam has the ability to provide instant offense for us," Giro said of Nolan. "She has tremendous vision, allowing her to find her teammates or finish herself. Her combination of size and quickness allows her to both out-physical defenders and face-up and attack the cage.

"Paulina is a workhorse," Giro continued. "We feel very fortunate to have a player like her who we can plug in all over the field. No one plays harder or with more passion than Paulina."

Brittany Marquess (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) competed for four seasons on the Broadneck varsity lacrosse and track teams, receiving Second Team All-County honors on a county championship lacrosse squad. The Annapolis, Md., native helped the track team to three straight county championships during her time with the Bruins.

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