2014 Season Previews: Part Two

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Here is part two of the 2014 season sneak preview!

Independent Conference

Friends (6-9) - Friends missed the state tournament by just a hair in 2013, graduating only 4 seniors but lost long-time head coach Pigeon Graham, replaced by recent college grad and Wesley lacrosse player, Jessica Franklin. Franklin inherits a trio of high scoring juniors in Meryl Gatti (39, 11), Margo Tschantz (23, 16) and Molly Harper (20, 10) and an easier schedule with the drop of Germantown Friends (PA), Cape and Sussex Tech.

Sanford (2-13) - Sanford last had a winning lacrosse season back in 2009 (9-6) and only captured wins last year against A.I. and Glasgow, but could that all change with Anne Brooking as head coach? After 25 years at Wilmington Friends, Brooking took a Sanford 5-9-1 field hockey program not only to a 13-3-1 record the year she took over, but to the second round of the DIAA field hockey tournament in the fall. So can Brooking manage another complete turnaround of a program at Sanford? One thing is certain though - if the Warriors will want to compete in the competitive Independent conference, they'll have to rebuild their attack, with only junior Kelsey Mendell (19, 2) surviving graduation before they open up the season against Tower Hill on April 1st.

St. Andrew's (10-6) - The Cardinals graduated 7 starters last May, including the trio of Helen Cammerzell, Margaret Whiteman and Joan Oates that together combined for 138 of the team's 230 goals in 2013. A mix of 5 starters return in 2014, seniors Alysa Saliba (12, 11) and Sara Coyne (13, 3) on Attack and Ellen Copper returning in goal, and sophomores Louisa Belk (5, 1) and Neely Egan as the lone returning mid-fielder and defender.

After a one year hiatus, head coach Jen McGowan is back at the reigns. In her previous two years at St. Andrew's, McGowan took the Cardinals all the way to the championship game against Cape.

Tatnall (8-7) - Tatnall graduated only 1 senior from their 2013 roster, but two of their highest goal scorers, Shay Cannon (75, 13) and Jennifer Davis (54, 17) will not be playing this year. Instead they will have to rely on Margaret Crivielli (25, 14), Cynthia Sellar (14, 16) and Meredith Boardman (14, 12) to get goals up on the board for their team.

Tower Hill (14-4) - In 2013, Tower Hill advanced to the state final for the first time since they last won the 'ship back in 2008 - their 5th state title, the same amount as the current state powerhouse and one less than the current record holder St. Andrew's. The Hillers lost four 1st team All-Staters, including two All-Americans but should still do just fine in 2014. They'll have to do some re-building in their midfield, which was wiped out completely from graduation but returns all of their attack and defensive starters. Senior Alexandra du Pont (13, 2) returns on attack, with classmate Jaime Manlove on defense. Juniors Sawyer Chilton (14, 11) and Emma Lynch (15, 5) should continue to be solid on attack with Madeline Schwartz seeing time on defense. Sophomore Kiva Walsh (21, 7) should prove to be another offensive asset for Tower along with Ellie Wakefield.

If Tower Hill will want to possibly win their first state title in six years, they'll have to overcome their debilitating case of cyanophobia - for the last four years it has been Cape Henlopen who has ended Tower Hill's tournament run.

The quest for the Independent conference should be another two horse race, with defending champs Tower Hill holding off St. Andrew's challenge and Friends and Tatnall possibly competing for third.

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