Johns Hopkins Lacrosse Preview for the 2013 Season

After back-to-back seasons hovering around .500, Johns Hopkins is looking to take the next step forward in 2013, but with just five returning starters and 12 newcomers on this year's squad, that could prove to be quite a challenge for the Blue Jays.

"The last two years, we've had some real marquee wins but also some challenging losses," said head coach Janine Tucker. "So we're really working on being more consistent. We're coming off a very successful fall and the graduating class that moved on from last year really opened up a lot of opportunities. We've moved some people around to new positions and are experimenting with putting kids in different positions looking for the strongest group that will get us the consistency that we're looking for."

With the graduation of Colleen McCaffrey and Candace Rossi, who combined to score more than 270 goals and 360 points, it will be offense by committee this season. This group shares the ball and they set each other up well and the coaches are looking to attack from all different points of the field this season.

Junior co-captain Taylor D'Amore is the only returning starter from last season. The Blue Jays' leading point-scorer from last season, she has gained invaluable experience as a member of the US National Team, and will lead the attack this season for Hopkins. D'Amore notched career highs in goals (33), assists (40) and points (73) and also set a school single-season record with 74 draw controls. She earned First Team All-American Lacrosse Conference and IWLCA All-Mid-Atlantic honors last season.

Joining D'Amore on attack are senior Katie Duffey and sophomore Jen Cook. Duffey missed much of last year due to injury but is back and ready to pick up where she left off as a sophomore, when she scored 13 goals. She is an outstanding cutter and shifty off-ball player and is developing great chemistry with D'Amore. Cook, who transferred to Hopkins last fall, has demonstrated a strong skill set and has a knack for getting to the cage. A great finisher, she has added a different dimension to the Jays' offense.

Also featuring in the offense this season are junior Lauren Burke, sophomore Jenna Kasmarik and freshmen Caroline Turco, Jenna Reifler, Maddy Aldave and Erica Matz. All six bring something different to the table. They are versatile, extremely competitive and want to contribute to the success of the team.

Kasmarik is a dynamic player with flashy stick skills and a nose for the cage. She led all rookies in scoring last year with six goals. Turco is one of the most explosive freshmen on the team and the coaching staff is experimenting with her and Aldave as midfielders. Reifler is a natural lefty and the coaches want to work her into the offense.

The middies are also lending some offensive firepower this season. The Blue Jays were attack heavy in 2012, because of a young midfield but this season the middies are more seasoned and the Jays will look for more balanced scoring.

"We have a lot of speed and athleticism coming through the midfield," Tucker said. "That group is really going to complement the skill and finesse we have on the attacking end of the field. Our midfield will be one of our strengths this year and that's going to be a focus for us in respect to the draw control and our ride. We're expecting them to own the middle of the field."

Returning to anchor the midfield are seniors Courtney Schweizer and juniors Sammy Cermack and Sarah Taylor. Schweizer made the move from defense last season and scored 16 goals for the Blue Jays. She has tremendous speed and is instrumental in the ride and clearing game.

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