Feb. 10, 2014
CONWAY - After several weeks of spring practices, the Coastal Carolina women's lacrosse team is ready to begin its season on Tuesday, Feb. 11, when it faces Oregon in a neutral-site game in Jacksonville, Fla.
The Chanticleers have a lot to look forward to as they enter their second season of competition as a Division I women's lacrosse program. Coastal is returning 18 student-athletes from the 2013 inaugural season, including nine who started in at least 10 games for the Chants.
"We are returning a good amount of experience from last year," said head coach Jaime Sellers, who led the Chants to a 5-11 (2-5) record in their inaugural season. "We carried over a lot from last year, and what we are seeing is a lot of self-leadership. I feel great, not only about the leadership we have in our captains, but the leadership we have in our younger players."
Offensively, the Chants bring back four of their top five scorers from 2013 in Keri White (26 goals, 12 assists, 38 points), Charlotte O'Leary (20 goals, 10 assists, 30 points), Rachel Ferrara (24 goals, five assists, 29 points) and Paige Timberg (22 goals, four assists, 26 points).
Assisting with the Chanticleer offense will be several key returnees in the midfield, including second team all-conference junior Lily Yednock. Last season, Yednock led the team in ground balls (37) and caused turnovers (30), and produced 16 points (11 goals, 5 assists) despite missing the final five games of the season due to injury.
Also returning in the midfield are sophomores Sara Nolan and Morgan Gott. Nolan chipped in 11 goals and grabbed 21 draw controls while Gott logged minutes in every game, won 18 draw controls and scooped 15 ground balls.
Ciardi started 15 games on defense in 2013, leading the Chanticleer back line with 22 ground balls while forcing eight turnovers. Constant was one of two players to start every game last year, accruing 16 ground balls and seven caused turnovers in front of the Chanticleer net. The 5-10 Waldron, meanwhile, ranked second on the team in draw controls with 32, and Trodden returns as a second-year captain of the Chants' defense.
Like Yednock, Cosgrove transferred to Coastal from Jacksonville University where she played her freshman and sophomore seasons. During her two seasons playing attack for Jacksonville, Cosgrove totaled 52 goals and 13 assists for 65 points, 15 ground balls, 11 draw controls and three game-winning goals.
"Jen has really provided a lot of leadership for our offense," said Sellers. "She has great vision and can then articulate to our group that's out there."
Sellers is also pleased with this season's freshmen class, who she calls an "eclectic group." Among those that have stood out in the preseason are attacker Alicia Geiter, defender Lauren Thomas and goalies Jenna Stover and Maria Platsidakis.
"Their personalities are really meshing with the rest of the team," Sellers said about the freshmen class. "Jenna and Maria have both had great performances so far. Alicia is an attacker who I think will see a lot of the field and is definitely one to watch and keep your eye on, and defensively Lauren has been a steady, consistent positional-defensive player for us thus far."
Sellers has high expectations for the 2014 Chants as they look to improve on last year's end result.
"I really expect to contend this year. I know that's a broad term but I don't set goals for myself or for the team until I see what they're really able to do, which is different every year. I think we should be finishing in the top four in this conference and we have the ability, skill and athleticism to do that."
The 2014 season for the Chanticleers features eight home games that will be played in Brooks Stadium on the campus of Coastal Carolina. The Chants' home-opener is Feb. 22 when Kennesaw State comes to Conway for a 1 p.m. tilt. Coastal recorded its first-ever win against Kennesaw State last season, clipping the Owls 21-12.
Live stats for Coastal's season-opening game on Tuesday can be viewed by following the link HERE.