Women's lacrosse opens 2017 season with trip to the Carolinas

Women's lacrosse opens 2017 season with trip to the Carolinas

SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo women's lacrosse team is looking to start the 2017 season fresh as they head to the Carolinas for two games this weekend. The Lions will open their season at Newbery on Saturday, Feb. 25 with a 2 p.m. game in Newberry, S.C., and will then head to Charlotte, N.C., to take on No. 9 Queens University of Charlotte on Monday, Feb. 27 at 4:00 p.m.

Saint Leo at Newberry
Saturday, Feb. 25 | 2 p.m.
Video | Live Stats

Saint Leo at No. 9 Queens (N.C.)
Monday, Feb. 27 | 4 p.m.
Video | Live Stats 

Saint Leo is looking to bounce back from a 3-12 2016 season.

"The team this year has a completely different mentality and approach than previous year's teams," Head Coach Lesley Graham. "They have been working hard from day one in the fall all the way through our extended preseason to push themselves and each other to new limits. After a disappointing year last year, our returners have a new outlook and approach, and with the help of our ten new faces we are looking to gel and make a statement this season."

Of the ten new faces, the Lions have added depth all over the field.

Defensively, Saint Leo added two freshmen defenders in Leah Sherman and Sara Gianino, while also adding a rookie goalie in Erin Davis.

Lauren O'Connell bridges the midfield and the defense, being a dual position player, while Delaney Chrisco, Jillian Bontempo, and Bailee Hurd have added the depth in the midfield.

On attack, Saint Leo adds Lexie Walstad, sophomore Kaylah Walstad's sister, along with Sabrina Sanacore, and Sydney Drummings.

"Offensively, we have some stars awaiting to emerge in players like Sabrina Sanacore and Delaney Chrisco, who both play with composure and poise beyond freshman mentality," Graham stated. "We also have solid defenders in student-athletes like Sara Gianino, who will look to make an immediate impact with her strong voice and great lax IQ."

A core group of upperclassmen adds to that consistency. Junior Abbie Ross returns as the Lions points and goals leader, as she tallied 25 goals and 29 points in her sophomore campaign, while senior Kelsey Burns also returns following a 27-point season where she tallied 23 goals and four assists. Senior Caroline Fraser returns as the third 20-plus point returner for the Lions, having tallied 22 points with a team-best 13 assists.

"We are looking forward to our perennial players having another solid year for us on offense, but are excited for new faces to emerge as well. Leslie Ferguson is back from her injury last year as well as Kaylah Walstad, who has unstoppable speed. Our upperclassmen are solid players both on the offense and defense side of the ball, and we are looking forward to all of them making their mark."

In general, fans should look for an improved consistency on the offensive end of the field.

"Overall, our level of consistency on offense has been an improvement from last year," Graham said of her attack. "We have a lot of creative play happening which as a coach I love to see because it means they are engaged in the game and wanting and able to play the situation. This helps the team's ability to make quick on-the-field decisions and be confident in those decisions."

Saint Leo will put their practices to test this weekend and will look to improve upon last year.

For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo women's lacrosse team visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.