The Bates women’s lacrosse team has reasons to be excited and optimistic about the upcoming season. The 2008 team graduated only three seniors. It is true, however, the three seniors had a tremendous impact on the team’s past success. Liz Denver (Needham, Mass.) was a second-team All-NESCAC selection in 2008 on defense, as well as a Pilgrim Region first-team selection. Denver led the team in caused turnovers in 2008 with 23. Molly Wagner (Longmeadow, Mass.) graduated with the all-time leading points record (182) for Bates women’s lacrosse. Wagner was also a two-time All-American, three-time All-NESCAC player and four-time All-Region player.
However, the postseason accolades extend not just to the 2008 seniors but to a trio of returning Bobcats as well. Bates returns three all-region players as well as a solid core of skilled returners. A talented first-year class will both challenge and complement the many returning players.
Senior Caroline Thomas (Barrington, R.I.), a Second Team All-NESCAC player and Pilgrim Region first-team selection last season, returns as the team’s leading scorer from 2008, with 38 goals and 15 assists (53 points) last year. Also, earning Pilgrim Region Second Team honors in 2008 were juniors Morgan Maciewicz (Marblehead, Mass.) and Molly Radis (Peaks Island, Maine), the second and third-leading scorers in 2008 with 41 and 33 points, respectively. The defense will be anchored by sophomore Mara Krueger (St. Louis, Mo.), who had a standout first year as Bates' starting goalie, notching a 7-5 record with a save percentage of .502 and a goals-against average of 9.63.
Last season the Bobcats posted a 7-7 record and narrowly missed the playoffs with a heartbreaking 14-12 loss in the final game of the season against Wesleyan. Bates would have secured the seventh and final spot in the NESCAC Championship with a win. Bates was on both sides of highly competitive conference games all season. Four of Bates NESCAC opponents were ranked in the top 20 nationally when Bates competed against them. Bates lost two conference games to Tufts (ranked 17th at the time) and Colby by a single goal. However, Bates also scored some key conference victories during the season. For the first time since 1993, Bates defeated conference and in-state rival Bowdoin 11-8. Bowdoin was ranked 14th in the nation at the time.
The Bates women's lacrosse team will look to the strong leadership of its upperclassmen and the spark of both young returners and newcomers to help them achieve their goal of a playoff spot in 2009.
The Bobcats open their season this Thursday, Feb. 19th in Nashville, Tenn., against Sewanee at 6 p.m. The women’s home opener is Saturday, March 3 against Gordon College at 5 p.m.