The Stetson University women’s lacrosse program is just 17 days from making its official debut, but already the Hatters have impressed the other coaches in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Stetson was picked to finish tied for second in the league’s first year of women’s lacrosse competition. The Hatters earned 15 points in voting by the league coaches to tie the University of Detroit for second. Jacksonville University received all five first place votes and is the overwhelming favorite to capture the league title. A pair of JU players were also chosen as the league’s preseason Player and Defensive Player of the Year.
A-Sun lacrosse fans also had a chance to vote for the league favorites as well as Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards. Howard took top honors in the Facebook voting, earning the top spot in the poll as well as both individual honors.
In addition to the preseason polls, the league coaches also named a preseason All-Conference team as well as a newcomer watch list for the coming year. Only players from the three existing programs were eligible for inclusion on the preseason team.
Stetson’s two representatives on the Newcomer Watch List are freshman midfielder Mary Kate O’Sullivan (Naples, Fla.) and sophomore attacker Samantha Akl (Port St. Lucie, Fla.).
Hatters coach Nicole Moore, who will lead Stetson into its first year of intercollegiate competition, is excited about the potential O’Sullivan and Akl bring to the team.
“Mary Kate is a strong player and has shown her determination, coach-ability and drive every day,” Moore said. “She continues to improve her game and has a very bright future here at Stetson. Though only a freshman, she will help lead our team and build success in our program. I am excited to be able to coach Mary Kate and see what she does this season.”
Akl brings a level of collegiate experience as a sophomore transfer from Limestone College.
“Sam is a tenacious worker on the field and will help run our attack,” Moore said. “She has brought her experience to our program and has pushed herself and her teammates to work hard and to reach full potential. She continues to work daily on her game and that effort is evident. Sam shares the vision of this program and strives for excellence in her lacrosse experience.”
The Hatters will open their inaugural season of play with an exhibition game against the Haudenosaunee National Team at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista on January 26. Their regular season opener at the Stetson Athletics Training Center will be on February 10 against Liberty.
The Hatters will play 10 home matches during their 15-game regular season schedule.