By: Andrew Korba
Entering its third full season, the Hiram College women's lacrosse team will look to keep on improving. Third-year head coach Erika Blozie welcomes back a solid core from a team that posted a 3-13 record in 2014.
12 players return for Hiram, with all of them playing in at least 15 games last year. With another year under their belts, the Terriers will look to contend in the tough North Coast Athletic Conference.
Bloize welcomes back her top two goals scorers from last season in junior JoLyn Grover (Grand Blanc, Mich.) and junior Hannah Schaefer (Kent/Roosevelt). Grover led the team and set a single-season school record with 25 goals last year. For her efforts, she was named Honorable Mention All-NCAC. Schaefer scored 21 goals last season, while leading the team with 34 draw controls.
Hiram also returns seniors Devonique Henderson (Streetsboro) and senior Morgan Rahman (Westlake/St. Joseph's Academy) on the attack. Henderson played in all 16 contests last season, while Rahman found the back of the net four times. Also returning is sophomore Kayla Jenkins (Solon), who appeared in 15 contests last season.
The midfield position welcomes back sophomore Autumn Osgood (Hyde Park, Vt./Lamoille Union), who played and started in all 16 games last year. In addition, she finished third on the team with seven goals. Senior Jocelyn Schmidt (Kent/Roosevelt) also is back after causing a team-high 14 turnovers last season.
The Terriers also welcome in some newcomers at midfield. Sophomore Kayla Cornett (Strongsville), sophomore Kayla Langhoff (Fairport Harbor/Fairport Harding), freshman Alyse Gillentine (Hartville/Lake) and freshman Sierah Ray (Stow/Stow Munroe-Falls) all will push for playing time and provide depth.
The defense is the most experienced position on the squad. Senior Jzayla Jackson (Lorain) and senior LeAunna Martin (Akron/Ellet) both return after playing all 16 games last season and will be called upon to lead the defense.
Junior Paige McLain (Beaver Falls, Pa./Blackhawk) also returns after forcing 12 turnovers last season. Sophomore Erin Smith (Youngstown/Cardinal Mooney) also is back after starting seven games on defense last season.
Senior Milla Titova (Novgorod, Russia/Lyceum) also enters into the defensive equation.
At goalie, Hiram will turn to freshman Rachel Metcalf (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) to carry the load this season.
The Terriers open the 2015 season on February 28 against Houghton (N.Y.) at Henry Field. Hiram will then host Franciscan on March 4, before embarking on a four game road trip that features stops at Olivet (Mich.), Hanover (Ind.), Rhodes (Tenn.) and Division II Walsh.
The Terriers will also play non-conference road contests at Hilbert (N.Y.) and Muskingum.
Hiram opens NCAC play on March 21 with a contest against Wooster. The Terriers will also host Wittenberg and Allegeheny (Pa.) in home NCAC games.
The Terriers conclude the season on April 25 at national power and defending NCAC Tournament champion Denison.
With a talented core of players returning in 2015, the Hiram College women's lacrosse team will look to take another step in the right direction and contend in the NCAC.