LANCASTER, Pa. – No. 4 Franklin & Marshall starts the 2017 campaign on Saturday when the Diplomats travel Lexington, Va. to take on Washington & Lee at 2:00 p.m. After back-to-back Final Fours, the Diplomats are set to make their 13th CC Championship appearance and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the 18th time in school history.
Click here to watch the preseason video.
F&M returns 25 members, including seven starters from last year's team that finished with a 21-3 mark and advanced to the NCAA Final Four. With a large core returning from last year's squad and a talented freshman class, the Diplomats are set for their seventh CC Crown and seventh Final Four appearance in program history.
Click here to meet the 2017 women's lacrosse team.
All-American Paige Moriarty returns to lead the attack unit in 2017. The reigning DIII Attacker of the Year ranked in the top-10 in the country in both points (108), and goals (78) and dished out 30 assists. Moriarty's 108 points last season reset the program's season record set by Lauren Petrella '94. The junior finished with three or more points in all but five games last season.
Senior Gabby Frank was fifth in the CC with 43 goals, and ranked in the top10 in both assists with 29 and points at 72. She recorded three or more points in 12 games, including eight with five or more points, and received All-CC Honorable Mention last season. Senior Claire Jackson will start at the third attack position after ending last season with 52 points on 31 goals and 21 assists.
Senior Natalie Delinsky will join sophomores Maddie Hughes and Katie Groenke at the midfield. Delinsky tallied 18 goals with 12 assists last year and Hughes finished the year with 17 goals and 11 assists. Groenke played in 24 contests and ended the season with 22 points on 16 goals and six helpers. Freshman Melissa Judge will play a significant role and gets the nod at the draw. Senior Siobhan Burke will see time in the midfield as well.
F&M's strength this year will be on defense with First Team All-American Vanessa Budd and four-year starter Sarah Bozzo leading the way. Budd was named to CC First Team and the All-Region First Team for the second consecutive year last season. The senior ended the year with 38 caused turnovers, 43 draws and picked up 29 ground balls.
Bozzo received All-CC Second Team honors for the second consecutive year after recording 26 caused turnovers and collecting 26 ground balls. She helped anchor a defensive unit that allowed five or fewer goals in 13 games and was a pivotal part of the F&M defense that has allowed just 5.91 goals per game.
Senior Taylor Freud will start on defense after finishing last year with 12 caused turnovers, 14 ground balls and 13 draw controls. Seniors Hannah Thomas, Peyton Annese and Rachael Consoli along with Freshmen Maggie Hanzsche and Kate Myrick should see time on defense.
Danielle Harrington returns for the third consecutive year at goalie. The junior earned All-CC Honorable Mention last season after ranking second in the CC with a 6.10 goals-against average and a 49.8 saves-percentage. She had an 18-2 record last season and recorded double-digit save totals in three games. Sophomore Julia McKay and freshman Julia Nelson will also pick up minutes in goal this year.
The Diplomats were picked first in the 2017 CC Preseason Poll, grabbing seven first-place votes. Gettysburg was picked second followed by Washington, Dickinson, and Haverford. F&M is ranked fourth in both the Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Poll and the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWCLA) Preseason Poll behind only Middlebury, Cortland and Trinity.
The Road Ahead
A total of eight teams from last year's NCAA Tournament field make an appearance on the Diplomats' schedule, including F&M's season-opening opponent Washington and Lee at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25.
CC competition starts on Saturday, March 25 when the Diplomats travel to take on Swarthmore at 3:00 p.m. Key non-conference tilts include a rematch with last year's NCAA Regional Final opponent Salisbury at home on Sunday, March 26 before taking on defending National Champion Middlebury at Tylus the following Wednesday.
Postseason play opens with the CC First Round on Wednesday, May 3, with the Semifinals and Championship occurring on May 6-7. The NCAA Tournament begins Saturday, May 13, with the Final Four taking place at Kerr Stadium in Salem, Va., on May 27-28.
A continued feature to this year's schedule is the "Add to Calendar" button, which allows fans to sync new events and updates directly in their Google, Exchange, Yahoo, Outlook, ICal and additional calendars.
Look for the icon below, which can be accessed at the top-right of the women's lacrosse schedule when viewed on your computer, or bottom-left of all schedules on your mobile device.
Follow Along (Social Media)
All of your favorite Diplomat athletic teams are available on social media. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram, like them on Facebook and subscribe to the Diplomats YouTube page for numerous highlight videos of games throughout the season. You can also sign up to receive emails of game recaps, weekly previews, and schedule changes by clicking here.
All home contests are streamed in HD video, free of charge at GoDiplomats.com/Live