Bears Set to Open 2009 Season at Sacred Heart

Feb. 25, 2009

PROVIDENCE, RI - Fifth-year head coach Keely McDonald '00 and the Brown women's lacrosse team is set to open the 2009 season today at 3:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart. Live stats for the game will be available on Sacred Heart's athletic website. The Bears return their top four scorers and two All-Ivy selections in captains Lauren Vitkus (Skaneateles, NY) and Noelle DiGioia (Pittsburgh, PA). Brown has made great strides in each of McDonald's first four seasons, and the Bears are eager to improve upon their 6-10 record from 2008, while moving towards the upper echelon of the Ivy League.

Vitkus led the Bears a year ago with 40 points, 31 goals, and 41 draw controls and will once again look to lead Brown's scoring efforts. Senior Jesse Nunn (Worton, MD), sophomore Alexa Caldwell (Middletown, DE), and junior Kara Kelly (Garden City, NY) finished the 2008 season ranked second, third, and fourth on the team in scoring, respectively, and they will once again continue to support the offense. Junior Molly McCarthy (Scituate, MA) and senior Krystina DeLuca (Hillsborough, NJ) both finished with 13 points and will look to improve those numbers this season.

In addition to Nunn, other attackers who will look to contribute more this season include senior Callie Lawrence (Denver, CO), who scored two goals last year, and sophomore Brittany Boulanger (Boxford) and sophomore Macie Winship (Shrewsbury, MA), who each had one goal a year ago. Senior Bethany Buzzell (Middletown, MD) also returns to the team this season after missing all of 2008 with an injury. In her first two seasons, she tallied 38 points (30g, 8a), including a rookie season that saw her contribute 29 points (23g, 6a). Newcomers to the attack include Katelyn Caro (Andover, MA), Katie Keady (Canton, MA), and Kaela McGilloway (Sea Cliff, NY).

In addition to Vitkus, Caldwell, Kelly, McCarthy, and DeLuca, Brown's midfield will also be bolstered by the return of senior Kelly Robinson (Marlton, NJ), junior Kiki Manners (North Potomac, MD), and sophomore Paris Waterman (Newark, DE). Last year, Manners pitched in nine points, Robinson had seven, and Waterman had four. Sophomores Krissi Penikis (Swarthmore, PA) and Ali Davala (Wilton, CT) will also look to contribute more regularly this season. Newcomers include Nancy Baker (Upper Arlington, OH), Leanne Catalano (Ellicott City, MD), Natalie Cummins (Santa Ana, CA), Casey Gahan (Manhasset, NY), Jaclyn Melicharek (Longwood, FL), Margaret Polanin (Chatham, NJ), and McGilloway.

Defensively, Brown will be led by DiGioia, a three-year starter and Honorable Mention All-Ivy selection a year ago. DiGioia led the Bears in 2008 with 36 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers and is also a threat on the circle, picking up 15 draw controls. Senior Val Sherry (Baltimore, MD) and sophomore Tori Conway (Upper Arlington, OH) are both experienced low defenders and provide consistency to the lineup. Waterman, Kelly, and Manners may also see time defensively, along with sophomore Melissa Logan (Cleveland Heights, OH), who was injured all of last season. Newcomers Julia Keller (Concord, MA), Caro, Catalano, and Keady also join the defensive unit.

Brown will have a new look in goal this season after the graduation of Melissa King (Pepper Pike, OH), who started in net each of the last three seasons. Freshmen Isabel Harvey (Baltimore, MD) and Gianna Spinelli (Chatham, NJ) join the Bears this season and will compete for the starting job in goal.

Brown's home opener is slated for this Saturday against Hofstra at 3:00 p.m. The Bears' Ivy League opener is two weeks from now when Brown hosts Harvard in a 1:00 p.m. game on March 14.