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Veteran-Laden Roster Looks to Lead Women's Lacrosse in 2017

Senior Captains Erin Smith (#16), Kayla Jenkins (#13) and Autumn Osgood (#11) look to lead the women's lacrosse team in 2017
Senior Captains Erin Smith (#16), Kayla Jenkins (#13) and Autumn Osgood (#11) look to lead the women's lacrosse team in 2017

March 3 – HIRAM, Ohio – Looking to build upon a 2016 campaign in which they set a new program record for wins, the Hiram women's lacrosse team once again look to raise the bar in 2017.

"Last season, our goal was to prove people wrong," stated head coach Bri Dishong of last year's results. "We set out with a chip on our shoulders and looking to change peoples' expectations about Hiram lacrosse.

"I think we accomplished the goal from last year, so this year is our opportunity to continue to find our fight and push the bar of what we are able to achieve."

A trio of senior captains will look to lead the Terriers over the course of the 2017 season as Autumn Osgood, Kayla Jenkins and Erin Smith all return for their final seasons.

"It's going to be necessary for our leadership to continue to lead us by example both on and off the field," stated Dishong of her captains. "Everything starts from the top, and as they go, we go."

Osgood, the program's all-time leading scorer, and two-time NCAC Honorable Mention selection, will once again look to lead the offensive attack from her midfield position. Last season, Osgood produced a new career high, and program record, 48 goals and 56 total points.

"We are going to try to continue to challenge Autumn every day," remarked Dishong of her top weapon. "As a team, we need her to continue to strive to break through her own ceilings and lead by example."

On the attack, Jenkins will lead a group of experienced players into the 2017 campaign. Last season, the senior posted a career-high 15 points, including notching a pair of hat tricks on the year.

"Kayla is going to continue to be our vocal leader on the field," remarked Dishong. "She continues to do everything we ask of her, including splitting time between the attack and midfield."

Other experienced players returning to the offense, include juniors Sierra Ray, Alyse Gillentine and Kayla Cornett at attack, as well as midfielder, sophomore Katelyn Slomovitz. Freshman Alexis Hirsch will also see time at midfield.

Along with Osgood, Ray put together a solid season as a junior. She tallied a career-best 31 goals on the year, while finishing the season with 33 points. Gillentine and Slomovitz return to a team that brings back all of their top five scorers from a season ago. Gillentine ranked third on the roster (19), and Slomovitz, fourth (16).

"What we need from our offense this season is to play with confidence," stated Dishong. "With what we have returning to the field, we feel like we can be very effective on that end.

"Additionally, we feel that our midfield is a strong as it has ever been as far as our team speed and stick skill. We can have the ability to push this season and put pressure on opposing defenses."

Smith returns to the fray as the most experienced defender on the squad that will look to protect junior goalkeeper Rachel Metcalf.

"Erin needs to serve as the quarterback of the defense this season," stated Dishong of her senior defender. "Our newcomers will need to lean on her so they can step up as a unit and support their goalie."

Joining Smith on the defense will be juniors Mercedes Jones and Melissa Schilling as well as freshmen Alyssa Roberts and Shauntia Smith.

In goal, Metcalf returns to the field after playing in all 17 games and serving between the pipes for all 1,020 minutes of game time in 2016.

"Rachel is going to continue to be a huge lift for us on the defense end of the field," said Dishong of her net minder. "Her experience and her ability to be vocal will help serve as a safety net for some of our younger defenders."

The Terriers open their season on Saturday, March 4 as they travel to New Concord, Ohio to take on Muskingum University at 1 p.m. The home portion of the schedule will then open on March 12 as Hiram will play the first of its nine home games against Heidelberg University.

"This season is all about finding our fight," stated Dishong about goals for this season. "Heart. Pride. Fun. If we can achieve those three things, we can have a successful season."