No. 11/13 CUA anxious to get season started on Tuesday at home

No. 11/13 CUA anxious to get season started on Tuesday at home

WASHINGTON – CUA begins the 2013 season on Tuesday evening when the Cardinals welcome Frostburg State to town. The five-time defending Landmark Conference champion Cards are nationally ranked in two polls and have been selected as the conference favorite yet again.

After winning 16 games and advancing to its third Regional Final in the last five years in 2012, CUA returns a strong group of players for this season. Lindsay Brophy, last season's conference Rookie of the Year and an All-Region selection, highlights the returning players, which also include All-Conference selection Tricia Pehnke

Other veterans to keep an eye on include Megan Gormley, Kelly Neligan, Nicole Laitner, Theresa Ciletti, Caroline DiBartolomeo, Katie Miller, and Caroline Scalamandre.

On the offensive side of things, Brophy and Miller will form a strong one-two punch for CUA, after combining for 65 goals and 109 points last season.

Also returning on attack are Erin Fowler (16 goals, 20 points), Laitner (4 goals) and Darcy Resch, who was injured all of last season.  Newcomers include Emily Downs, Mary Clare Regan, and Samantha Hawkins.

In the midfield, Head Coach Meghan McDonogh figures to have a strong contingent of Cardinals from which to choose from, headlined by DiBartolomeo (14 goals, 4 assists), Ciletti (34 goals, 41 points), and Meghan O'Brien  (5 goals).  Freshmen Madeline Nowakowski, Rebecca Arent, Alexis Martin and Adair Douglas also figure to make an impact.

CUA's defense should be a very formidable unit in 2013, with Gormley, Neligan, Scalamandre and Pehnke forming a terrific core.

Gormley started 21 games and scooped up 31 ground balls  a season ago, while Neligan emerged as one of the Cardinals' leaders on the draw, winning 43.  A physical defender, Scalamandre caused 13 turnovers and won 50 draw controls a season ago, and in goal, Pehnke started 11 contests, sending back 84 shots in over 600 minutes of action.

Also on defense are junior goalkeeper Yasmeen Ajdari, sophomores Alissa Norris and Katie Burton, freshmen keepers Brittnee Frizol and Victoria Sudjian, and fellow freshmen Martin and Douglas.

CUA led the Landmark Conference in assists (14), points (480), and draw controls (372) a season ago. The Cards were a perfect 4-0 during the regular season vs. conference foes, before downing Scranton and Susquehanna in the conference tournament.

Frostburg State will also be making its season debut on Tuesday, a season after the Bobcats went 4-12 overall and 2-6 in the CAC.

FSU will lean upon captains Chelsea Feeney, Malory Brunett and Karoline Miller. Feeney started 15 of 16 games a year ago, and was tied for third on the team in scoring with 29 points. She also paced the squad in assists (18).

A two-time All-Conference selection, Brunett was the lone Bobcat to start all 16 games in 2012. She finished seventh in the conference in goals with 43. Miller has started 17 games in goal over her previous two seasons and stopped 208 shots.

The Cardinals and Frostburg State get things started at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening from inside Cardinal Stadium.

On Saturday, CUA welcomes nationally ranked Salisbury to Washington. Start time is set for 1.