LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell women's lacrosse team begins its 40th anniversary season at Robert Morris on Saturday.
The Bison, who are led by first-year head coach Remington Steele and were picked to finish sixth in the 2018 Patriot League preseason poll, will square off against the Colonials at 1 p.m.
Bucknell (0-0, 0-0 Patriot League) vs. Robert Morris (0-0, 0-0 NEC)
When: Saturday, Feb. 10 – 1 p.m.
Where: Joe Walton Stadium – Moon Township, Pa.
Internet Video: NEC Front Row
Live Stats: RMUColonials.com
Follow on Twitter: @Bucknell_WLAX
Bucknell at a Glance
• The Bison women's lacrosse team is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018. Established in 1978, the program has compiled a 208-381 all-time record.
• In 2017, Bucknell went 9-8 (4-5 Patriot League). The Bison, who finished sixth in the Patriot League a year ago, were picked to place in the same spot in 2018, as voted on by the league’s coaches and sports information directors in the preseason poll.
• Bucknell's captains are seniors Katherine Doyle, Sarah Galzerano and Mary Margaret Kenney.
• The Bison need to replace both of their 2017 All-Patriot League honorees in midfielder Maddy Molinari and defender Annie Gilbertson. A year ago, Molinari led Bucknell with 37 goals, 11 more than the next player, while Gilbertson paced the Patriot League in caused turnovers per game (2.12).
• The Bison return two of their top five point producers from 2017: Audrey Walsh, who finished first with 46 (26g-20a), and Galzerano, who racked up 27 (19g-8a). Walsh played in all 17 games while Galzerano appeared in the first 10 before losing the rest of the season to injury.
• Eve Lukowski, who led Bucknell with 65 points (33g-32a) in 2016, missed five games due to injury a year ago. She enters her senior campaign with 100 points (51g-49a) and could crack the Bison's top 10 in this statistical category by the end of the season. She is also one assist shy of entering the top five.
• Goaltender Jamie DeWitt, who has started all but one game over the past two seasons, is back. She enters her junior campaign with 247 saves, a .437 save percentage and a 19-15-0 record.
• Remington Steele was named the Bucknell women's lacrosse team's 12th head coach in August 2017. Steele spent the 2017 campaign as an assistant coach at Furman and is also the head coach of the Welsh Senior Women's National Lacrosse Team.
Robert Morris at a Glance
• The Colonials are set to open their season by hosting the Bison. Like Bucknell, Robert Morris is under the direction of a new head coach: Katrina Silva, who previously served as an assistant coach with the program.
• In the NEC preseason poll, Robert Morris was selected to place third.
• The Colonials finished the 2017 campaign with an 11-7 (5-2 NEC) record, matching their single-season record in overall wins. They bowed out of the NEC tournament in the semifinals with a 12-10 loss to Wagner.
• Robert Morris returns three of its five 2017 all-NEC selections: Dana Davis (First Team), Mackenzie Gandy (Second and Rookie Teams) and Meghan Crouse (Rookie Team).
• The Colonials will need to replace Annie Sachs, who led the NEC with a school-record 78 points (51g-27a) as a freshman. The NEC Midfielder and Rookie of the Year transferred to Towson during the off season.
• Bucknell and Robert Morris are tied, 3-3, in an all-time series dating back to 2007.
• The Bison and Colonials last squared off in the 2017 season opener. While Robert Morris rallied from an eight-goal deficit to draw within one with 5:45 left in regulation, Bucknell held fast to pull out an 11-10 victory. Audrey Walsh led the offense with six points (1g-5a) while Jamie DeWitt made 12 saves.
Career Milestone Watch
• Jamie DeWitt: Needs 24 ground balls to crack Bucknell's top 10 with 99
• Katherine Doyle: Needs 10 caused turnovers to crack Bucknell's top 10 with 52
• Katherine Doyle: Needs 16 ground balls to crack Bucknell's top 10 with 99
• Eve Lukowski: Needs one assist to move from sixth to fifth (50) in school history; needs seven to enter a tie for fourth (56)
• Eve Lukowski: Needs 43 points to crack Bucknell's top 10 with 143
A Look Ahead
• The Bison travel to Hofstra on Saturday, Feb. 17 for a noon game. They then host Villanova on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. in their home opener.
The Bucknell women’s lacrosse team will have a new look in its 40th anniversary season. First-year head coach Remington Steele has set out to get the most from his young team, which graduated its two All-Patriot League picks and three of its top five point producers from a year ago.
“We wanted to create a style of play that is unique to Bucknell but also gets the most out of the skill sets every player brings to our team,” Steele said. “We’re looking to play fast and aggressive and get every player on the field involved in every play. We feel really good about what we accomplished in the fall. There was a bit of a learning curve at first, with us installing new systems and shifting people to new positions, but we’re in a great place now. The team has embraced this change and worked hard every day to make it a reality.”
Steele is confident his stable of attackers will be able to play the up-tempo brand of lacrosse he hopes will become Bucknell’s staple. Leading the charge will be Audrey Walsh, who paced the Bison with 46 points (26g-20a) as a sophomore in 2017.
“Audrey is a pure goal scorer,” Steele said. “She’s the perfect person to run our offense because she can create her own shots and score off feeds. She can play in different sets and different spots on the field. We’re excited for her to be a big playmaker for us in a lot of different ways.”
Bucknell will also be bolstered by Sarah Galzerano’s return. Galzerano was well on her way to a breakout junior campaign, with 27 points (19g-8a) in the first 10 games, but ultimately lost the last seven games to injury.
“Sarah started working her way back in during the fall, and she’s going to be full strength for the spring,” Steele said. “She worked really hard to get back, and we’re excited for her to pick up where she left of before her injury.”
Steele also expects big things from Lillie Hunt, who saw action in only one game as a freshman a year ago.
“Lillie is shifty, athletic and creative,” Steele said. “She doesn’t think about things the way most players do. She has the ability to create different shots and create offensive opportunities most players in the country can’t. Her creativity and her ability to look at the game in a different way will open up a lot of opportunities for us.”
At midfield, Bucknell needs to replace Maddy Molinari. A 2017 All-Patriot League First Team honoree, she led the Bison with 37 goals, 11 more than the next player. While Steele acknowledged Molinari’s strong two-way play will be missed, he said midfield remains one of Bucknell’s greatest strengths.
“Midfield is probably our deepest position right now,” Steele said. “We feel every midfielder can step up and help us win, which isn’t something you can always say. We lost Maddy, but we have players who developed over the past year and will be able to step into her role.”
Steele highlighted Mary Margaret Kenney, Morgan Steinhacker and Sophia Klaber as three midfielders to watch. Kenney, who enters her senior campaign with 29 points (17g-12a), 64 ground balls, 51 draw controls and 29 caused turnovers in 48 career games, brings solid two-way play and leadership to the unit.
“Mary Margaret is going to push our midfield unit to be the best it can be,” Steele said. “She’s been a big leader and a big player for her entire career so we’re looking forward to her having a big senior year.”
As a freshman in 2017, Steinhacker saw action in 14 games off the bench. Most notably, she found the back of the net with 23 seconds remaining in regulation to lift Bucknell to a dramatic 12-11 victory over Colgate. Klaber, who did not appear in a game as a freshman that season, has impressed Steele with her seamless transition to midfield from defense.
“Morgan is coming off a really good freshman year, and we’re excited for her to come in and keep making plays on both sides of the ball,” Steele said. “Sophia is proving to be a great two-way midfielder. She’s strong on both sides of the ball and is an unbelievable athlete. They’re both going to help us a lot in transition and in our settled offense and defense.”
Steele retooled the Bison defense, which graduated two-time All-Patriot League Second Team selection Annie Gilbertson. He expects Katherine Doyle and Callie DeWitt to lead the unit, which features six underclassmen.
“We’ve reworked the defense this year and put them outside of their comfort zone,” Steele said. “We asked them to do things they weren’t used to doing, and they embraced the challenge and had a great fall. As a group, they always play with a lot of energy and toughness, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
In net, Bucknell returns Jamie DeWitt, who has started all but one game since arriving in Lewisburg. She enters her junior campaign with 247 saves, a .437 save percentage and a 19-15-0 record.
“Jamie is very calm and a great leader for our defense,” Steele said. “She’s really athletic, she’s good outside the cage, and she’s a great shot stopper. She does a great job of helping direct things. She’ll be a really big part of our team and our success.”
To have success in the Patriot League, Steele knows every player will have to play her role to the absolute best of her ability. The Bison, who a year ago qualified for back-to-back Patriot League tournaments for the second time in program history, will look to make it three in a row for the first time this season.
“Obviously, the Patriot League is a very competitive conference, with Loyola being a top-15 team and Navy making the Final Four last year,” Steele said. “Our goal is to keep improving every day. We need to focus on ourselves and on getting where we want to be. We need to keep building our culture of competition and hard work. As long as we keep improving every day, we’ll start to make a splash in the Patriot League. The best thing is, once you’re competitive in the Patriot League, you’re competitive nationally. If you’re winning Patriot League championships, you’re going to be able to make runs in the NCAA tournament.”