Hempstead, NY - The Hofstra Women's Lacrosse team opens the 2014 season on Saturday when it travels to New Hampshire for a 12 p.m. contest. 

2014 WLAX Outlook

Following a season in which the Hofstra Women’s Lacrosse team advanced to the title game of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship, the program will look to take the next step and capture the conference title and earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

All the pieces are in place for Hofstra to achieve its goals as a plethora of talent returns for second-year Head Coach Shannon Smith and the program has been infused with the addition of six talented newcomers.

Smith guided the Pride to an 11-win season during her first season at the helm of the program and with 10 starters and 23 letterwinners returning for Hofstra, the sky’s the limit for the team.

POSITION-BY-POSITION BREAKDOWN

Attack
One of the Pride’s top players will anchor the attack position this season as junior Brittain Altomare (Wolfsville, MD) returns for her third season in a Hofstra uniform after leading the team with 69 points on 34 goals and a program-record 35 assists. Brittain Altomare picked up a slew of awards a season ago as she was an Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-Mid-Atlantic Region second team selection, in addition to earning first team All-CAA accolades as well. Brittain Altomare left her mark in several other areas as well as she contributed 34 draw controls, 23 ground balls and nine caused turnovers.

Brittain Altomare will not be asked to do it alone, though, as several other players will look to bolster the Pride offensive output.

Sophomore Emily Considine (Rockville Centre, NY), a CAA All-Rookie pick last year, was fifth on the team with 18 points on 15 goals and three assists despite playing in only 12 games due to injury.

Several other players will look to establish themselves this season as Coach Smith hopes to create multiple options for the Pride.

Also breaking into the lineup at the attack position will be junior Sam Lenox (Sudlersville, MD), freshman Tiana Parrella (Miller Place, NY), senior Julia Riemer (Monkton, MD), senior Lindsay McKinnon (Fairport, NY), freshman Morgan Knox (Whiteford, MD), freshman Erin Jeffery (Diablo, CA), freshman Taylor Altomare (Wolfsville, MD), junior Kaitlin Ayres (Glenmont, NY) and senior Jacquelyn Ardolino (Shirley, NY).

Among the returnees from that group, Riemer had a breakout season in 2013 as she ranked second on the team with 29 points on 25 goals and four assists. Lenox and McKinnon chipped in with three points a season ago, while Ayres played in four games and Ardolino appeared in three contests.

Midfield
The midfield position for the Pride will have a considerable amount of experience as a trio of seniors will see time for Hofstra at this spot. Seniors Emily von Hollen (Severna Park, MD), Alexandra Mezzanotte (Forest Hill, MD) and Jenn Ward (Fallston, MD) will be joined at midfield by the reigning CAA Rookie of the year in sophomore Becky Conto (West Hempstead, NY).

Also looking to crack the lineup for Hofstra in the midfield will be freshman Erika Neumen (Rockford, MI) and seniors Liz Anders (Reistertown, MD) and Callahan Foley (Huntingdon Valley, PA).

Von Hollen had 12 points (11 goals) and 13 ground balls last season, while Mezzanotte added 16 points (14 goals and two assists), 25 ground balls and seven caused turnovers and Ward added three goals.

The conference’s rookie of the year and a CAA All-Rookie pick, Conto ranked third on the team with 21 points on 16 goals and five assists. She led Hofstra with 55 draw controls as well, while also adding 12 ground balls and seven caused turnovers.

Anders played in nine games last year and scored three points, while Foley appeared in three games.

Coach Smith will look for this group to help Hofstra on both ends of the field as the Pride looks to play strong defense this season and make the most of their offensive possessions.

Defense
Arguably Hofstra’s deepest position on the roster, the Pride has a multitude of different options to showcase in a defense that could be one of the top units in the nation this season.

Anchoring the defense for Hofstra will be junior April Iannetta (Wantagh, NY). A preseason third team All-American selection by Inside Lacrosse, Iannetta’s value to the Pride can be seen almost everywhere on the field as she had 50 ground balls (second on team) and a team-leading 40 caused turnovers, while also being a major option offensively with 12 goals and six assists. Iannetta was the CAA Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and also earned IWLCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region and All-CAA first team honors.

Senior Emily Corzel (Berwyn, PA), junior Abby Wilson (Bel Air, MD), sophomore Shelby Milne (Camillus, NY) and senior Jamie D’Arco (Brookeville, MD) will be major contributors on defense as well.

Corzel played in only seven games last year but hopes to be fully healthy in her final season in a Pride uniform. Wilson added 13 ground balls and six caused turnovers in 2013, while Milne picked up CAA All-Rookie accolades following a season in which she had 30 ground balls and a team-best 23 caused turnovers. D’Arco chipped in with a solid season on the defensive side as she had 21 caused turnovers, 20 ground balls and 11 draw controls.

Sophomore Lindsey Alfano (Hauppauge, NY), senior Jac Tierney (Massapequa, NY) and senior Samantha Greiber (Annapolis, MD) will look to crack the lineup as well for Hofstra. Alfano played in every game last year and had 19 ground balls, eight caused turnovers and six draw controls for the Pride. Tierney appeared in three games and Greiber made one appearance a season ago.

Goalie
Junior Kelsey Gregerson (Rockville Centre, NY) had an outstanding sophomore campaign and will look to continue her development into her third season in a Hofstra uniform. Gregerson started all 19 games last year and had a goals against average of 8.41, while making 121 saves and compiling a .426 saves percentage. She played 1163:23 out of a possible 1171:27 minutes last year.

Joining Gregerson and providing depth at the goalie position will be freshman Alexis Greene (Glen Head, NY).

Schedule
The 17-game schedule will feature seven home games at James M. Shuart Stadium, including the first home game of the season against a Maryland squad that was the runner-up in the NCAA Tournament a season ago.

Hofstra will play three games against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2013, as in addition to Maryland the Pride will also take on Towson and Dartmouth. The difficult slate in 2014 will feature eight teams that won at least 10 games last year.

The CAA Championship will be held on May 2 and 4 at the regular season champion. The first and second rounds of the NCAA Championship are scheduled for May 9 and 11 and the quarterfinals will be played on either May 17 or 18. The semifinals and championship game are May 23 and 25 at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, MD.