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Friday, June 21, 2024
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Lacrosse shoots for second straight PL title

Season Preview

It was a season of milestones last year for Women's Lacrosse. The Eagles' record, 11-8 overall, 5-1 in Patriot League play, gave them the most wins in school history.

Offensively they weren't bad either, scoring 227 goals and accumulating 96 assists. These factors led to another first - a conference title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, although that ended abruptly with a 19-3 drubbing at Virginia, the third-largest defeat in tournament history.

AU begins play Tuesday against Towson at Reeves Field as it looks to keep those records coming. However, the Eagles will have to work through a few major personnel changes to do so.

The big difference is the woman on the sideline. Maureen Dupcak, the 2003 PL Coach of the Year, resigned in July for personal reasons after six seasons with the team. She is replaced this year by Ashley Flanigan, who is no stranger to the program. Flanigan, who graduated from AU in 2001, spent the last two years as an assistant after being one of the school's top goal-scorers as a player.

The Eagles also have changes on the players' side. Gina Riitano, who was in position to join Flanigan among AU's top scorers, transferred to Syracuse. Riitano had 65 goals and 21 assists in two years at AU. Her 44 goals and 18 assists last year were second-best in the league to lead the best offensive team in the PL.

Last year's PL Tournament MVP Nadia Harmsen also departed, due to graduation. Harmsen starred on all ends of the field, scoring 49 points and causing a team-best 27 turnovers. Her 108 draw controls were a school record.

But the changes don't mean vastly different expectations for the squad this spring. As some big players return to the team, AU was picked to repeat as PL champions in the preseason poll.

Junior attacker Rebecca Copeland was second on the team in points with 43 goals and seven assists. The Second-Team All-Leaguer is joined by senior attacker Katy Zaweski, who had 32 goals and 13 assists in 2002, shoring up some of the lost offense after Riitano's transfer.

In goal, AU will once again rely on sophomore Kathleen Finnegan, who had a remarkable rookie season. She started all 19 games for the Eagles and was named Second Team All-PL after a 10.51 goals against average. Finnegan also stopped 52.4 percent of the shots she faced, giving her the 19th-best save percentage in the nation.

The rest of the PL looks to finish similarly to last year. Colgate and Bucknell, who finished just behind AU in last year's standings, also received first-place votes in the preseason poll. Lafayette was the fourth team to get a vote for the top spot. The Leopards were a dangerous opponent for AU last year, as they handed the Eagles their only PL loss last spring, a 12-11 clipping in Easton, Pa.

League play for AU begins Mar. 13 at Bucknell in a rematch of last year's title match. The schedule includes bouts with some of the nation's best teams, as the Eagles will visit No. 20 Johns Hopkins, No. 21 Richmond and No. 23 George Mason.


As the semester comes to an end and one of the founding members leaves American University, Section 202 has decided to take a trip down memory lane. For our fans, old and new, who are wondering how Section 202 came to be, this episode is a must. Listen along as hosts Connor Sturniolo and Liah Argiropoulos reminisce about the beginning of Section 202 and how it got to where it is now.


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