Since the women's lacrosse program was brought back in 2010, the WildCats had their earliest start to the season this year as they hosted West Virginia Wesleyan of Division II on February 18. While the game was added to the schedule recently, it did give the team an opportunity in a game setting to get used to the new rules for Women's Lacrosse in 2018.
One of the biggest changes to the game is the implementation of a 90-second shot clock. "There are over 15 new rules for collegiate Women's lacrosse this season," stated head coach Alexis Waggoner. "Some are minor but the major ones like the 90-second shot clock and free movement really change the game. It is faster and more like soccer than ever before. By us being able to move after a whistle is blown allows the transition to be quicker and people can get in positions to their advantage whether it be on attack or defense. We played with these new rules during fall ball and my players did really well with them. We are working on seeing one step ahead of the play and the field more, as well as cardio and first step."
As for the WildCats themselves, the team returns a majority of their scoring output from last season. The trio of Hannah Bradley (Wye Mills, Md./Saints Peter and Paul), Nicole Dorton (Alexandria, Va./J.E.B. Stuart), and Dana Cavallo (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) accounted for 40% of the Randolph offense as sophomores and look to increase that output in their junior campaigns. "My junior class is the heart and soul of the team, their experience and work ethic is what is really going assist in coming home with more W's this year," said Waggoner. "They have seen all levels off college lacrosse and they know what it is going to take for us to have a successful season."
Sarah Perry (Rocky Mount, Va./Franklin County) joins the team this year in the midfield as does Rachel Buxton (Sterling, Va.) Perry had quite the debut for the Wildcats against the Bobcats. She scored five times on the day and had six draw controls, two groundballs, and caused one turnover. "My first years haven't missed a beat," remarked Waggoner. "By both of them coming from successful high school programs, the transition to college is not that difficult. I expect both of them to put the ball in the back of the net and really come into their own as middies for our team.
Teagan Stanley (Lusby, Md./Homeschool), Kathy Butler (Lorton, Va./Hayfield Secondary), and Tyrah Cobb-Davis (Laurel, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) all provide important support up the field. Shannon McQuaid (Sterling, Va./Potomac Falls) started in 10 of 13 games as a first year player last season and had 17 groundballs and nine caused turnovers. Stanley caused 12 turnovers and scooped up 31 groundballs. Maddie Peters (Salisbury, Md./James M. Bennett) and Katie Jones (Stafford, Va./Mountain View) were both factors on defense as they combined for 18 caused turnovers. The two will once again be counted on in the back.
Returning between the pipes is sophomore Chrissy Shackleford (Warrenton, Va./Kettle Run). Shackleford started 13 of 15 games for the 'Cats last season. Her 155 saves ranked as the fourth most in a season. "Chrissy has grown a lot this year, she is more vocal and really assisting in running our defense," noted Waggoner. "She works hard and her positive attitude alone is what will keep us in games." Anna Belliveau (Lexington, Va./Rockbridge County) is the lone senior on the squad and provides as a solid counterpart to Shackleford.
The WildCats return to WildCat Stadium to host Wartburg this Wednesday in the first of three straight home contests. ODAC play begins on March 24 at Guilford. "Overall this season I expect great things," said Waggoner. "This group of players truly understands what is takes to be a Randolph College Women's Lacrosse player and the amount of time and effort they need to put in. I could not ask for a better group of athletes to coach."