2012 Preseason Rank: 1 2012 Final Regular-Season Rank: 1 Key Returnees: Erin Fitzgerald (56g, 9a), Casey Bocklet (13g, 22a), Taylor Thornton (33g, 58gb, 28ct, 71dc), Alyssa Leonard (90dc). Key Losses: Shannon Smith (66g, 28a), Lacey Vigmostad (15g, 41gb, 29ct), Alex Frank (42gb, 36ct), Brianne LoManto (20gb, .456 sv%)
- Who replaces Shannon Smith on the crease? In the 2012 championship game, Bocklet ran interference for Smith when the latter was being tightly face-guarded and acquitted herself well. She will be the Wildcats’ top returning feeder with 22 assists, even though she only started four games. Bocklet is the youngest of four in a lax-y family – brothers Mike (Fairfield), Matt (Johns Hopkins) and Chris (Virginia) all played Division I lacrosse.
- Who replaces three-year starter LoManto in the cage? Bridget Bianco will likely become the Wildcats’ starting keeper. She played sparingly as a freshman but had an excellent high school career with New Jersey powerhouse program Moorestown, where her career goals against average was 4.8. Quakers coach Deanna Knobloch called her “the best high school goalie I’ve ever seen.”
- Where is Taylor Thornton most needed? Thornton was the 2011 IWLCA Defender of the Year, but in 2012, head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller asked her to pump up her offensive game. She more than doubled her points total from 15 to 34. But with the graduation of Vigmostad and Frank, and a new keeper adjusting to her starting role, shuffling the All-American back to D might be an enticing option.