Montclair, NJ (3/6/08) - After winning two straight Skyline Conference women’s lacrosse titles, it is no surprise that Montclair State University has been selected as the unanimous preseason favorite to capture the conference title in 2008. The Red Hawks earned five first-place votes in a poll of the conference’s head coaches.
Last season, MSU fashioned the finest season in the program's history as Montclair posted a 14-4 mark in addition to its conference crown and reached the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Montclair State will have a much different look than last season. The Red Hawks had eight First Team All-Skyline Conference performers last season, six of whom were seniors. Brianna Gillin, the Skyline Player of the Year, and Shauna Brocklebank graduated after finishing 1-2 on the team in scoring.
The Red Hawks still have plenty of experience from which to draw upon. Junior Mary Kate DiBenedetto (28 G, 25 A, 53 Pts) and senior Jennifer Tanis (35-17-52), both of whom were First Team All-Skyline selections last season, give Montclair State a strong nucleus in the midfield.
Also back for the Red Hawks is senior Cristin Bentz, who earned Second-Team honors in 2007.
Mount Saint Vincent and Kean tied for second in the preseason poll. Mount Saint Vincent, now in its fourth varsity season, has a strong group of seniors who have helped build the program. The Dolphins have four All-Skyline players back from last season, led by seniors Cyndi Adams (41-4-45) and Chanel Comis (32-2-34). Sophomore Kelly Martin, also a Second Team All-Skyline selection last season, led Mount Saint Vincent in both assists and points (39-14-53) as a rookie.
Kean finished 6-8 last season and was edged out for the final playoff spot last season following a close 18-15 loss to Mount Saint Vincent in the season finale. The Cougars will need to replace departed senior Gio Buono, one of the conference’s top offensive players. Junior attack Stephanie Cirino (23-9-32) is the team’s top returning scorer. Senior Alli Green earned Second Team All-Skyline honors as a defender last season.