Jacksonville Tabbed as Atlantic Sun Lacrosse Preseason Favorite

MACON, Ga. - Jacksonville set a NCAA record averaging 18.16 goals per game a year ago, and the high-powered Dolphins' offense is now ready to take the newly formed Atlantic Sun Conference by storm. JU was a unanimous pick in the inaugural preseason coaches' poll, while Detroit and Stetson tied at No. 2 followed by Howard.

The 2013 campaign officially gets underway for JU this Sunday, January 13th at the Ashley Sports Complex when the Dolphins host No. 1 Syracuse at 7:00 pm. Admission is free.

Seven Dolphins earned preseason recognition as well from the A-Sun coaches, including senior Rachel Hannon (Annapolis, Md.) who was tabbed as the preseason player and defensive player of the year. Joining Hannon on the preseason all-conference team from JU are juniors Alexandra Hoffman (Gambrills, Md.), Brit Orashen (Lebanon, N.J.), Morgan Derner (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Kayla Quint (Lake Mary, Fla.).

Freshman Kelsey Wigglesworth (Towson, Md.) and sophomore Taylor McCord (Jacksonville, Fla.) were selected to the A-Sun's Newcomer Watch List.

Hannon earned her preseason accolade following a 2012 campaign in which she was named the National Lacrosse Conference Co-Player of the Year and led the nation with an NCAA record 131 draw controls. Hannon also led the Dolphins in ground balls (27) and caused turnovers (27). Hoffman meanwhile led JU in points last season in total points with 39 goals and 27 assists.

Orashen scored 30 goals and tallied 39 draw controls on the year. Like a number of the other Dolphins, Derner had a big offensive year last spring as well racking up a team best 48 goals in 15 games. Her 3.2 goals per game ranked 13th in the nation. Quint started all 19 games at defender for JU recording 22 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers.

Wiggelsworth makes her collegiate debut this spring. As a high school senior she was a first team all-county and 3A All Division selection for Towson. A transfer from Florida, McCord scored nine goals for the NCAA semifinalist Gators last year. In high school, her 385 career points rank as the ninth most all-time nationally.

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The Stetson University women's lacrosse program is just 17 days from making its official debut, but already the Hatters have impressed the other coaches in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Stetson was picked to finish tied for second in the league's first year of women's lacrosse competition. The Hatters earned 15 points in voting by the league coaches to tie the University of Detroit for second. Jacksonville University received all five first place votes and is the overwhelming favorite to capture the league title. A pair of JU players were also chosen as the league's preseason Player and Defensive Player of the Year.

A-Sun lacrosse fans also had a chance to vote for the league favorites as well as Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards. Howard took top honors in the Facebook voting, earning the top spot in the poll as well as both individual honors.

In addition to the preseason polls, the league coaches also named a preseason All-Conference team as well as a newcomer watch list for the coming year. Only players from the three existing programs were eligible for inclusion on the preseason team.

Stetson's two representatives on the Newcomer Watch List are freshman midfielder Mary Kate O'Sullivan (Naples, Fla.) and sophomore attacker Samantha Akl (Port St. Lucie, Fla.).

Hatters coach Nicole Moore, who will lead Stetson into its first year of intercollegiate competition, is excited about the potential O'Sullivan and Akl bring to the team.

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