The Shippensburg University women’s lacrosse team begins its 2021 campaign Wednesday at home against Seton Hill University with an experienced roster and momentum on its side.
Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Nicole Meehan, the Raiders completed their 2020 season with a 3-3 record after notching an underdog win over the Griffins, in addition to victories over Georgian Court University and Lock Haven University.
With the 2021 season quickly approaching, SU returns 23 players with five newcomers on its highly touted roster. Ten of 11 starters from last year head the 23 returnees. The Raiders also bring in four freshman and one graduate transfer.
SU is slated for a 13-game competitive schedule, with 12 of those being double round-robin matches within the team’s division. SU is once again part of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division, which was established in the 2020 season. The Raiders will host six conference home games and travel for the remainder of conference play.
Leading the pack is sophomore midfielder Hannah Seifried, who turned in a historic shortened 2020 season. Seifried led the Raiders in goals (19) and draw controls (24). She also tallied hat tricks in four games, with a five-goal performance against Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and a six-goal game versus Lock Haven.
Junior Alana Cardaci, a 2019 All-PSAC Third Team honoree, exhibited quite the pandemic-ridden campaign as well. Cardaci finished second in goals (14) and listed a team-high in shots fired on goal (35).
Another eminent returnee for the Raiders is junior two-year captain Madi Jones. Jones, a defender, recorded six groundballs and two forced turnovers in her 2020 campaign.
Returning on defense with Jones are sophomores Clairanne Chairs and McKenna Keller. Chairs led SU with seven caused turnovers, recording a least one caused turnover in 5-of-6 games. Keller, on the other hand, finished third on the team in groundballs (11), accompanied by four caused turnovers.
On the offensive side of the ball, junior Jena MacDonald and sophomore Hannah Raines return. MacDonald led the Raiders with eight assists and tallied 13 points, ranking third on the team. Raines completed her second season with three goals, two coming in the season-opener against Georgia Court.
Sophomore attacker Sydney Costanza also returns after finishing second in assists (3).
From the midfielders (outside of Seifried), SU boasts a fiery and game-changing group.
Sophomore Gabby Savarino is looking to build off a noteworthy 2020 season. Savarino capped off her second year by scoring 11 goals (third on the team), with nine of those scores equaling three hat tricks in the first three contests of the season.
Junior Jessica DeMarte will look to duplicate her counterpart’s success after finishing first on the team with 14 groundballs to go along with 18 draw controls. Her seven draw controls against Lock Haven were a career high.
Freshman Kayla Jones is also hoping to make a splash in 2021 after appearing in all six games as a reserve midfielder. Her 2020 campaign went to the tune of five draw controls and three groundballs.
Junior Maddy Siejk also returns after recording three goals, all while missing the first four games due to injury.
In the net, freshman goalkeeper Ally Weneta is hoping to repeat the success she saw in her debut season. Weneta finished with 66 goals allowed but tallied 51 saves on a .436 save percentage. She will be backed up by sophomore Shaely Gamble and redshirt-sophomore KiKi Brasher.
Graduate student Samantha Cozzolino heads the newcomers, following a stellar four-year career at Davis & Elkins College in which she flourished in both lacrosse and soccer. While playing lacrosse for just three seasons, Cozzolino was a premier defender for the Senators. She was also named to the All-Mountain East Conference (MEC) Second Team in 2019 for soccer.
Editor’s note: With the 2020 season ending abruptly, the NCAA granted all spring sport athletes with another year of eligibility. It is not counted as a redshirt season.