Fredonia State women’s lacrosse opens season today

A new-look roster will take the field when Fredonia women’s lacrosse opens its season with home games today and Sunday at University Stadium.

Led by 2017 SUNYAC All-Conference Second Team midfielders Audrey Yokopovich and Samantha Spiess and captain Madeline Haney, the Blue Devils will be looking to improve upon last year’s 3-13 won-loss mark.

To do so, they will need contributions from a handful of returning players and several newcomers. “We’re young,” Head Coach Amy Simon said. “We’re pretty much a whole new team.”

Yokopovich, a senior who was also Second Team All SUNYAC as a sophomore, and Spiess scored 34 goals and 30 goals, respectively, during the 2017 season. They will called on to pick up the scoring load this season along with Haney, a sophomore attacker who had 10 goals as a freshman, and freshman attacker Casey Villagomez. In addition, junior Jen Kershner is a returning attacker.

There are no returning starters on the defensive end, and that includes in goal, where sophomore Sophie Jones is the likely starter. A pair of sophomores, Paige Bauch and Joshua Brzoza, will be joined by freshman Ali Coon as likely starters on defense. “She (Coon) is going to be a really strong player for us,” Simon said. “She can also run in the midfield, which is nice.”

Counting this weekend’s opponents (Mount Union today and Denison on Sunday), there are seven 2017 NCAA Tournament teams on this year’s schedule. In addition, Denison is one of five Fredonia opponents ranked in the 2018 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Top 25 Pre-Season Poll. The Big Red are No. 24 in the coaches’ poll, preceded by William Smith at No. 6, Brockport at No. 16, Cortland at No. 17, and St. John Fisher at No. 18.

It’s the fourth straight season the Blue Devils will play in February while today’s opener is the earliest starting date in program history, one day sooner than last year’s Feb. 25 game at Denison.

Of note heading into the season is Yokopovich’s place on several team career statistical lists. She’s 16th in points, No. 10 in goals, No. 7 in ground balls, No. 2 in draw controls (11 behind all-time leader Katie Kleine). and No. 3 in caused turnovers (31 back of Kleine and one back of Megan Mietelski).