Defending NCAA Champion Trinity Set to Open Season

Hartford, Conn. - Defending NCAA Division III champion Trinity, coached by Kate Livesay (7th Season), is ranked No. 1 in both the Lacrosse Magazine Pre-Season National Poll and the IWLCA Division III National Poll entering the start of its season this weekend.

The Bantams are coming off the program's greatest season, winning the program's first NCAA title with a best-ever 21-1 record. Trinity loses Division III's top defender, Liza Beckler, and its top midfielder, Liz Bruno, as well as All-American attacker Caite Irvine to graduation but boasts National Player of the Year candidate Megan Leonhard among a host of returnees at all positions this spring. The Bantams open the 2013 campaign on Saturday, March 9 at against Babson at noon.

Leonhard, a two-time All-American and one of just three Division III players on the prestigious Tewaaraton Award watch list, is a tremendous finisher with 132 goals and 18 assists in three seasons. Also leading the Bantams in 2012 with 53 draw controls and added 49 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers, Leonhard is a complete player who impacts the game in all facets.

Sophomore Caroline Hayes (Greenland, N.H.), who missed the majority of the NCAA Tournamet in her rookie campaign, is the second returning starter in the midfield, after totaling 23 goals and three assists, 26 ground balls, 35 draw controls, and 16 caused turnovers in 18 games a year ago. Hayes has All-American caliber skills and should be a force in her second season.

Fellow sophomore Lindsay Mullaney (Wellesley, Mass.) steps in for Bruno at the third midfield spot after a fine rookie spring. Her playing time increased consistently throughout the 2012 season, and she contributed important minutes in post-season play. First-year Martha Griffin (Exeter, N.H.) is a top newcomer in the midfield who joined the team recently after the close of the ice hockey season, while classmates Abby Hughes (Wenham, Mass.) and Abby McQuillan (Medfield, Mass.) provide depth at midfielder and elsewhere.

Senior tri-captain Mallory Hinman (Longmeadow, Mass.) anchors the defense in her third year as a starter, having earned All-NESCAC and all-regional honors in 2012. Classmate Hillary McNamara (Milton, Mass.) resumes her perennial role as a solid player at any position and will begin the spring in the backfield, and junior Lyndsey Shepard (Hamilton, Mass.) has been a dependable starting defender since her rookie year.

The trio combined for 97 ground balls and 53 caused turnovers in 2012. Senior Lauren Slattery (Westford, Mass.) and junior Midge Daniel (Wellesley, Mass.), who stepped in as a starter in the NCAA Tourney last season, are in an ongoing battle for the vacant starting spot and specific roles within the unit will continue to be sorted out in the early part of the year. Hughes and newcomer Taylor Higgins (Merrick, N.Y.) add to Trinity's defensive depth.

Senior tri-captain goalkeeper Olivia Whitney (Danvers, Mass.) enters er third year at a position that has become a team strength. Whitney, who prevents nearly as many shots as she saves through her skillful positioning of her defenders, totaled 90 saves in 1,204 minutes with a GAA of 7.12 last season. She is a vocal yet calm presence who has proven her worth in the biggest games as evidenced by her selection to the 2012 NCAA Final Four All-Tournament squad.

Sophomore Bridget Kitchen (North Andover, Mass.) and first-year Emily Mooney (New York, N.Y.) are both capable backups with varied skills who will battle for the No. 2 position on the depth chart throughout the year.

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