North Andover, Mass. – The Merrimack women's lacrosse team will open the 2012 season ranked #12 in the IWLCA national preseason poll. The Warriors posted a 12-7 overall record last spring and an 8-4 Northeast-10 conference record.
Five other Northeast-10 Conference school were ranked in the top 15 including defending national champions, the Adelphi Panthers, who are tied for #1 ranking along with the Le Moyne Dolphins. The Warriors ranked ahead of the Bentley Falcons who were #14 and right behind New Haven who received the #11 ranking.
The Warriors have 16 players returning to a team that tied a school record for wins in a season with 12 wins last year. Merrimack is returning three all-conference players from last season to go along with their leading scorer.
Senior captain Colleen Strachan (Bedford, Mass.) was the team's leading scorer last season, racking up 71 points on 50 goals and a team-high 21 assists. Strachan was not named to an all-conference team despite her outstanding point total. Fellow senior Mary Pasquantonio (Plainville, Mass.) returns after being named second-team all-region by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association. Pasquantonio led the team in goals last season, tallying 52 goals and 68 points as a junior.
Joining Pasquantonio on the All-conference teams were freshman Inna Hedden (Woodbine, MD) and Olivia Huie (Norwell, Mass.), who were both named to the All-rookie team. Hedden had a great rookie campaign for the Warriors recording the most wins in school history with 12 and ranked third all-time in saves made in a season with 172 saves. Huie started all 19 games for the Warriors recording 10 points and 48 draw controls, good for third on the team.
The Warriors reached the Northeast-10 semifinals for the third consecutive season in 2011 but they were defeated by the three-time defending national champions, Adelphi, by the score of 24-10.
The Warriors will open up 2012 at home on March 10 as they will play host to the visiting Saint Anselm Hawks at 1 pm at Martone-Mejail Field.