Fairfielder joins ECSU's Women's Lacrosse

Tess Mraz, class of 2016, of Fairfield, majoring in communication, joins Eastern Connecticut State University’s women’s lacrosse team in season opener.

Following heavy personnel losses at the conclusion of the 2013 season, it was obvious that the following several years would serve as a re-bounding process as the Eastern Connecticut State University women’s lacrosse program aims to return to its traditional perch among the elite programs in the Little East Conference.

The second phase of the rebuilding job began this past February 25 and resulted in a lopsided loss at Springfield College, a program which has proven that it can compete among the upper level of Division III in New England despite last year’s 8-9 record.

Coming off last year’s 3-13 season (2-4 LEC) and a first-ever first-round conference playoff loss, Eastern feels it can capitalize in the near future on the significant experience gained by last year’s freshman class, which dominated the 2014 roster.

This year, 11 letterwinners and 11 newcomers make up the 2015 roster. Among the returnees are six starting position field players and the starting goalie – all but one of whom are only sophomores. The new class also includes a sophomore transfer from the Division II level.

“We didn’t really have a big core of upperclassmen players to carry us last year,” pointed out ninth-year head coach Christine Hutchison, “so we looked to our freshmen, and they got a ton of playing time, which is going to help us this year.”

The top two scorers – who combined for nearly half of last year’s points as first-team All-Little East Conference selections – have graduated as has one starting defender, but the rest of the team returns virtually intact.

The all-important goalie position will be manned again by sophomore Taylor Emmerson, a freshman starter in every match a year ago. Her close defensive unit – which is learning a new zone scheme implemented by first-year assistant coach Rob Stone – will be comprised of senior three-year letterwinner Olivia Mullen, sophomore returnees and Devyne Doran and Nicole Scinto and first-year sophomore Caroline Regan. Doran was one of the team’s two second-team All-LEC freshman selections last year. Scinto will miss the early part of the season with an ankle injury.

Sophomore returnees Paige Schneider and Karen Trescott constitute two-thirds of the starting midfield and will be joined by freshman two-sport athlete Maggie Bodington. Schneider is the team’s top returning scorer (23-2-25) and joined Doran on the all-conference team as a freshman last spring.

Senior captain Meg Eremita returns for her fourth season and will team on high attack with junior Tess Mraz, sophomore Nicole Fretz and Division II sophomore transfer Bianca Jacques.

“This year, I think that the athletes returning know where they want to go,” says Hutchison. “They put the work in over the fall and in their weight-lifting program, and are fully dedicated. Since they played (a lot) last year, they are willing to push a little bit harder, because they already know the advantages of seeing time on the field.”

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