COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Capital University women's lacrosse team has high expectations for the 2017 campaign. The Crusaders return 13 players, including Kara Hines, who has won Ohio Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons.
Junior midfielder Kara Hines (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) will be the focal point of opponent's defensive game plans and the undisputed offensive leader for Capital. She led the OAC with 60 goals and ranked fifth in points with 63. Hines finished fourth in the conference with 59 ground balls, while adding the second-best mark in draw controls with 91. She was named Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-Great Lakes Region for the second straight season.
"Kara is the most coachable player and is very hard working. It is exciting creating an attack around her because she makes everyone else on the field better and is an unselfish player," said Head Coach Stacey Wood.
Additional assets on the offensive end include junior attacker Taylor Thomas (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson), who earned First Team All-OAC in 2016. Thomas tallied 35 goals while adding one assist for a total of 36 points. Junior midfielder Victoria Husain (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South) will add even more firepower on offense. Last year, Husain complied 49 points behind 29 assists and 20 goals.
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Joining the attack as major contributors are senior Marlee McCloud (Milford, Ohio/Milford), junior Regan Hanood (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North), and freshman Brianna Rampi (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby). Junior Amber Merideth (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley), sophomore Kayce Calcaterra (Leonard, Mich./Oxford), and sophomore Taylor Barclay (Granville, Ohio/Granville) will serve as key supporters at that position.
"This season I'm really excited because we have an older team with lots of experience," said Hines.
Senior Korri Titus (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) will play a key role in both the attack and defense as a midfielder. Last season, Titus scored 20 goals and had 23 assists for 43 points, which garnered her Second Team All-OAC honors. She picked up 26 groundballs and caused 17 turnovers.
Senior Shannon Walton (Fairview Park, Ohio/Magnificat) returns to the lineup after missing her junior season due to injury, and will serve as a key driver to the goal as well as a defender in the middle. Sophomore Makenna Ozenghar (Youngstown, Ohio/Cardinal Mooney) had a solid freshman season with five goals, four of those off free position shots, and three helpers off the bench. She will likely find a spot in the starting lineup this season. Following a decorated high school career, freshman Kathryn Walton (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central) will also find significant playing time for the Crusaders. Also in reserve is sophomore Brooke Overly (Boardman, Ohio/Cardinal Mooney) and freshman Franchesca Cardillo (Youngstown, Ohio/Boardman).
Senior Alexis Juergensen (Canton, Ohio /Jackson) will anchor the frontline of the defense. Juergensen tabbed her third consecutive First Team All-OAC accolade and is regarded as one of the best defenders in the OAC, as well the region. Adding support on defense is sophomore Katie Enot (Uniontown, Ohio/Hoover), who was tabbed Second Team All-OAC. Providing depth on defense will be junior Mary Manos (Canton, Ohio/Jackson) and sophomore Emma Trefney (Cleveland, Ohio/Magnificat).
Capital returns one of the OAC's best goalies, First Team All-OAC and IWLCA First Team All-Region selections, in senior Maddie Wilson (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls). Last season, Wilson led the OAC in goals-against average with 7.13 and held down the top spot in the OAC with a save percentage of .505. She finished second in the conference by surrendering only 104 goals. Wilson stopped 106 shots last season, which was fourth in the OAC. Freshman Katie Parks (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland) will back-up Wilson in goal.
Players and coaches alike agree that it is going to take consistency for the Crusaders to win their first OAC championship, this season.
"The goal this year is to put together a complete season, go 7-0 in the conference and make the NCAA Tournament," said Wood.
"The key to success is going to be working well as a team and playing full 60-minute games," said Titus.
This year marks the first full senior class in program history. Last season, Capital finished with a 6-1 record in conference games, hosted and won their first home postseason contest, and advanced to their first OAC Tournament championship game.