Macon, Georgia. – Jacksonville enters the 2015 Atlantic Sun Women’s Lacrosse season as the favorite after garnering 59 total votes in the coaches poll. Attacker Taylor McCord earned the Preseason Player of the Year honor, while Detroit’s goalie Lexie McCormick was tabbed the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, announced by the league office on Friday afternoon.
The Dolphins are coming off back-to-back A-Sun titles and NCAA Tournament appearances. They finished the season with a 14-6 record, including going unbeaten in conference play. They once again led the NCAA in scoring and return a veteran group this season. This year the Dolphins hope to take the next step for the program and progress in the NCAA Tournament.
League newcomer Old Dominion was picked second by the A-Sun coaches with 53 total votes and one first-place vote. Head Coach Heather Holt leads the Lady Monarchs into the A-Sun for the first time this year. Four of the top-five scorers on the team return, including All-Conference selections Jessica Liberty and Ashmore Standing. Sophomore goalie Maggi Buckley returns after notching 102 saves a season ago.
Detroit is picked to finish third in the league, after making two consecutive trips to the A-Sun Championship game. The Titans feature three defenders who were named to the All-Conference Team and the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in Lexie McCormick. Stetson comes in the fourth position, while Furman was picked to finish fifth. Kennesaw State was selected sixth followed by Mercer and Howard. The Bears and Paladins are making their women’s lacrosse debut this season.
McCord was voted the Preseason Player of the Year after earning first team All-Conference honors last season. She scored 38 goals and tallied 27 assists to lead the league in total points. She was named Player of the Week on two occasions in 2014. McCormick was voted the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. She made 181 saves for the Titans last season and ended with a team-high 62 ground balls. McCormick ranked fifth in the NCAA with 10.06 saves per game.
Read more on the Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference team as voted on by the league coaches.
Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference Team (* – Denotes unanimous selection)
– Lexie McCormick, Detroit, Goalie: The Preseason Defensive Player of the Year ranked fourth in the NCAA with 181 total saves last season. McCormick posted five wins and led the Titans back to the A-Sun Championship game. She holds the school records in saves and wins entering the 2015 season.
– Amanda Guthrie, Detroit, Defense: Guthrie started all 18 games for the Titans last season. Finished the season with 21 caused turnovers and 37 ground balls. She was a second team All-Conference selection in 2014. Guthrie started 50 of her 54 career games at Detroit. Added five draw controls from her defensive position.
– Morgan Lear, Detroit, Defense: After missing the entire 2013 season, Lear returned to the field last season. She played and started 17 games for the Titans and ranked fifth on the team in ground balls and caused turnovers. She was voted to the second team All-Conference in 2014.
– Taylor Marshall, Detroit, Defense: The senior from Cincinnati, Ohio returns to guide the Titan defense. She played in 11 games a season ago and has collected 23 ground balls. She was a first team All-Conference selection in 2013 and hopes to return to that form this upcoming season.
– Sam Bauer, Jacksonville, Defense: Bauer, a Cambridge, Md. senior defender for the Dolphins, returns for the 2015 campaign looking to improve on last season. Bauer played in 15 games and caused 25 turnovers. She also collected seven ground balls and three draw controls while helping the Dolphins win the A-Sun Championship.
– Kristin Ridenour, Jacksonville, Defense: Ridenour played in 18 games for Jacksonville as a freshman a season ago. She earned A-Sun Freshman Team honors last year and was also named to the All-Tournament team. She had 20 ground balls and caused 14 turnovers in 2014. Ridenour also picked up 18 draw controls for Jacksonville last season.
– Kylie Birney, Detroit, Midfield: Birney was voted to the First Team All-Conference in 2014. She started all 18 games for the Titans and scored 26 goals. She led the team with 10 free position tallies, and was second in draw controls with 28. Birney tied her single-game career-high on two occasions with four goal games.
– Brittney Orashen, Jacksonville, Midfield: Orashen is the 2014 Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year. She played in all 20 games for the Dolphins a season ago. She led the team with 50 draw controls and scored 21 goals. Orashen ranks second all-time at Jacksonville in draw controls and third in caused turnovers.
– Hannah Wilcox, Jacksonville, Midfield: Wilcox, a sophomore from McMurray, Pa., played in all 20 games for the Dolphins last season. She tallied 12 goals and five assists. She added 11 ground balls, eight draw controls and five caused turnovers during her freshman campaign.
– Sydney Farwick, Kennesaw State, Midfield: Farwick returns after a strong freshman season for the Owls. She was a second team All-Conference member and voted to the All-Freshman team. Farwick tallied 42 points, including 28 goals scored. She led Kennesaw State with 52 draw controls and 49 ground balls. She tied for second in the NCAA with 3.76 ground balls per game.
– Tessa Keuler, Detroit, Attack: Keuler led the Titans with 18 assists and 40 total points during the 2014 season. She ranked fourth on the team with 22 goals scored including one game-winner. Keuler also contributed with 23 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers, both second best on the team.
– Taylor McCord, Jacksonville, Attack*: McCord is the 2015 Preseason Player of the Year after a stellar 2014 campaign. She was a first team All-Conference selection last year and scored 38 goals for the Dolphins. She tallied a team-high 27 assists for 65 total points. She ranks fourth all-time in school history with 165 points, despite only completing two seasons so far with the Dolphins.
– Jessica Liberty, Old Dominion, Attack: Liberty started 15 of 16 Monarch games last season, ranking second on the team with 24 goals scored. She also ranked second in points with 36. The senior has compiled 30 goals in her career with the Monarchs. ODU is a newcomer to the A-Sun this year.
– Ashmore Standing, Old Dominion, Attack: Standing ranked third on the team in draw controls last season with 15 and fourth in ground balls with 25. She scored 23 goals and added four assists for 27 total points. The junior has tallied 55 goals in her career at Old Dominion. The Monarchs enter 2015 as one of three newcomers to the A-Sun.
For the third-straight year, the Atlantic Sun took to social media to poll the fans for the conference preseason superlative awards. Stetson swept this year’s fan voting as Christina Wittmeier garnered 406 votes to win Preseason Player of Year. Erin Busch was the fans choice for Defensive Player of the Year with 220 total votes. Over the past two days a total of 2,027 votes were cast on social media.
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