UMBC Opens 2013 Lacrosse Season Under Appelt and Giro

Sophomore Sarah Hemler and newcomers Brittany Marquess and Megan Flock will also vie for time in the midfield.

Defense

The Retrievers' defense returns a two-time America East All-Conference First Team selection in senior Jamie Fahey, as well as junior co-captain Devan Hibbs. The duo piloted UMBC's defense, appearing in all but one contest in 2012, that surrendered 10.00 goals per game last season ranking third in the conference. Fahey finished second on the team in draw controls (36) and fourth in ground balls (20). Hibbs registered 11 caused turnovers, good for second on the team, and added 15 ground balls and 10 draw controls.

Courtney Thompson gained great experience in her first collegiate campaign, appearing in 15 games and earning one start for the Retrievers, and will likely increase her role as a sophomore. Anne Zabel, an Under Armour All-American out of Marriotts Ridge High School, will be looked upon to jump right into the mix in her rookie season. Junior Jackie Benson and sophomore Lexi Bristow also return on defense after seeing action a season ago and will compete with newcomer Meghan Milani for time.

"Defensively, we have four or five girls that we are going to lean on a lot," Appelt said. "Most of our defenders have been coached by Tony [Giro] for the last four years. They understand what we're looking for defensively, and are very responsive to everything we are asking of them.

"We have a lot more speed this year than we have in the past, so we can put pressure on the ball and do a lot of things we might not have been able to do in the past," concluded Appelt.

Goalkeeping

Goalkeepers Kendall Mason and Anna Barnett split time in net last season, following the graduation of Natalie Rau. The two allowed a conference-low 170 goals and combined for 127 saves on the year. Mason, one of four captains on the squad, started 13 games last season, tallying a career-best 59 saves on the year, while Barnett earned America East All-Conference Second Team recognition and a spot on the all-rookie team after leading the league in save percentage (.486) in 2012. Barnett, who saw action in 14 contests, posted a 5-3 mark and finished the season with a team-best 68 saves.

"For goalkeeping, it is a dog fight," Appelt said. "They're both playing and they're both making amazing saves. Barnett has improved dramatically on her clearing. Mason is the voice behind there. They both have things they bring to the table and we're really lucky to have two great athletes in that position."

America East Preseason Coaches' Poll

The Retrievers were one of four teams to earn a first place vote in the 2013 America East Preseason Coaches' Poll, receiving one first-place vote and 19 total votes from the seven coaches. Stony Brook, who defeated the Retrievers in the league tournament semifinals last season as the No. 2 seed, was picked to finish first in the conference after returning all 12 of its starters from a year ago. Regular season America East Champion Boston University and AEC tournament champion Albany were tied for second with 29 votes apiece. UMBC followed in fourth, in front of Vermont (17), New Hampshire (13) and Binghamton (seven).

"Regardless of where you are in the preseason poll, on any day, we feel that anyone if you prepare and do the things you need to do can beat any opponent," Appelt said. "At this point, every game is a new game. We're not looking ahead to April or May; we're looking ahead to American and taking it game-by-game, week-by-week.

"For a team that's so young that's how we have to look at it," Appelt continued. "We always have the hunt in our mind, we want to get to that championship weekend, but in order to get there we have to take care of each piece first."

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2013-02-15



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