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Liz Gauf
Liz Gauf
Courtesy: TBD
Women's Lax to Play Five Top-20 Teams in 2014; Captains Named
Release:   02/06/2014
LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Bucknell women's lacrosse coach Randall Goldsborough has not hesitated to schedule top teams in recent years, and 2014 will be no different as the Bison are slated to play five teams ranked in the Brine Top-20 Media Poll.

The Bison open the season at No. 14 Stony Brook on Saturday, Feb. 15. Four days later No. 7 Penn State comes to Graham Field for the home opener at 4 p.m. Johns Hopkins, tied for the No. 20 spot in the poll, will host Bucknell at Homewood Field on Feb. 22, making it three straight ranked foes to start the season.

When Patriot League play rolls around, Bucknell will battle No. 12 Navy and No. 10 Loyola, both at home just three days apart in mid-March.

Bucknell will also host non-conference games against Villanova, Marist and Howard, and the Bison will visit Duquesne and Saint Francis (Pa.).

"Our schedule is very tough, and that is something that we will always try to do," said Goldsborough. "The student-athletes in our program and that we are recruiting want to test themselves against the best, and someday soon we want to be in that class with them."

Goldsborough has also announced the team's quartet of captains for 2014. Seniors Char Damico, Andrea Feldman, Elizabeth Gauf and Sophie Kleinert have been elected captains. This will be the second year of captaincy for Damico and Kleinert.

Damico has battled injuries for the last two seasons and will at least start out the 2014 campaign on the injured list. A strong and talented defender when healthy, Damico will be a valuable aide to the coaching staff if she is unable to play.

"Char has always been one of our best communicators on defense, and she has a great eye for opposing attackers' strengths and weaknesses," said Goldsborough. "We are counting on her to give us an extra set of eyes on the sideline."

Feldman has started 49 of a possible 50 games for the Bison on defense over the last three seasons, and she is once again ticketed to be a starter and key leader in 2014. Feldman recorded 17 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers a year ago.

"Andrea keeps getting sharper and sharper, and she is one of our toughest defenders," said Goldsborough. "She has learned how to communicate with everyone on the field, and she has worked extremely hard on her stick skills."

Like Feldman, Gauf is a three-year starting defender. She forced 12 turnovers and picked up 10 ground balls while playing solid 1-on-1 defense last season, and she is expected to be back in a starter's role again this spring.

"Liz has significantly matured as a team leader and as a defender over the last four years," said Goldsborough. "She is such a tremendous leader on and off the field and is very involved on campus. On the field her fitness is better than ever, and her confidence has gone through the roof. You always want to see players peaking in their senior year, and she is doing that."

A starting midfielder, Kleinert is a standout performer in a number of phases of the game for the Bison. One of her primary duties is taking draws, and she enters her senior season ranked eighth on Bucknell's all-time list for draw controls with 82. Offensively, Kleinert scored 12 goals last season, and she has 31 in her career. She is also a strong defender and is annually one of the team's ground ball leaders.

"Sophie has been our all-around most consistent player," Goldsborough said. "She is one of our smartest off-ball players on offense. She is extremely knowledgeable about the game and always finds a way to get open. She would be a good coach some day, because she gets the nuances of the game and is extremely coachable herself."

The Bison finished 5-12 last season but won four of their last six contests, including a big Senior Day win over Patriot League rival Holy Cross. Nine starters will be back this spring, including 2013 scoring leader and Second Team All-Patriot League selection Katelyn Miller.

Be sure to check back at BucknellBison.com next week for a more detailed women's lacrosse season preview.

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