Lacrosse Opens 2021 Hosting No. 15 Duke, Furman
DAVIDSON, N.C. — After a 2020 season cut short due to COVID-19, the Davidson women’s lacrosse team will return to the turf this weekend, to begin its 2021 campaign first against No. 15 Duke University on Friday night and then Furman University on Sunday afternoon.
Preseason Looks… The Wildcats were predicted to finish sixth overall this season among the Atlantic 10, up one spot from last year, as Davidson finished the shortened 2020 campaign with a 2-4 record, including two losses to top-25 teams.
Guess Who’s Back… Davidson returns 78 percent of its scoring from a season ago, including two of its three leading scorers. Sophomore Anna West and junior Gianna New combined for 19 goals and three assists last season, while the two recorded 10 and nine goals, respectively. New also returns as the Wildcats’ leading draw controller, winning 27 draws during the 2020 season, while West shot a team-best 2-of-3 on free position attempts one year ago. The ‘Cats will also have an advantage in the backfield, as defender Natalie Junior is back for her senior season, after earning the program’s first ever A-10 Preseason All-Conference recognition last year. A Pennsylvania native, Junior forced a team-high 12 caused turnovers in 2020, and grabbed 14 ground balls.
About the Blue Devils… Duke is currently ranked 15th in the nation, per the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association, and has three Blue Devils named to the IWLCA’S Preseason All-American list. The Blue Devils will be Davidson’s fifth nationally ranked opponent in the last six years, as the ‘Cats are 0-14 against the regional foe, dating back to April of 1996.
Scouting the Paladins… Sunday will mark Davidson and Furman’s fourth consecutive meeting, as the Wildcats hold the series advantage at a 3-0 clip. The Paladins will open their season on Friday as well, taking on ECU in Greenville, N.C. at 3 p.m. Last year, Furman finished the season 3-4, picking up wins over East Carolina, Fresno State and Bucknell.
Battle of the Netminders… Davidson returns two of its three netminders from a season ago, but graduated Delaney Guhman who saw nearly 300 minutes in goal. Katy Morris and Amanda Monahan return as two keepers who combined for 83 minutes of work and nine saves in 2020, while Paige Doyle enters the mix as a freshman goalie from Pleasanton, Calif.
New ‘Cats on the Block… Head Coach Kim Wayne brought 10 new Wildcats onto the scene for the 2021 season, adding depth to all four position groups. Doyle is the lone freshman keeper, while four defenders, one attacker and two midfielders round out the newbies.
Coach’s Take… “I recognize how fortunate we are to even be playing right now, so getting out on the field after almost a year since our last game is truly a dream come true. I’m excited for my seniors who get another chance, as well as the rest of the team who truly didn’t know how this year would go,” said Head Coach Kim Wayne. “With so much uncertainty surrounding us, the ability for my players to play the sport they love is something we will forever be grateful for. Playing against Duke, a top 15 opponent, is a chance for us to just play against someone other than ourselves, to remember what it’s like to compete, and to simply play the game we love. I’m excited for tomorrow, but even more excited to see my team love the game again.“
Follow the Action… Matt Present will have the call on Friday night, while Sam Goldfarb takes over the play-by-play action on Sunday. Both games this weekend will be streamed on ESPN+, with video and live stats available at davidsonwildcats.com/coverage.