Lacrosse adds 11 players for the 2012-13 school year
The 2011 National Lacrosse Conference champion Jacksonville University Dolphins are feeling the momentum from the successful 2011 campaign that resulted in the Dolphins finishing the season the top-ranked offense in Division I.

Nowhere is the Dolphins momentum more evident than in their recruiting for the 2013-2016 seasons, the high school class of 2012. The signees include nationally rated position players who have speed, athleticism, skill and height.

“It certainly helps being a nationally competitive program in two seasons. We had some really big wins and at Division I, every win means you are doing something well,” head coach Mindy McCord, starting her third season with the Dolphins, said. “The 2012 class has some nationally regarded players who are going to step in and compete with our team right away. That says a lot, because we think a lot of the team we have for the 2011-12 season.”

McCord, who hails from Westminster, Md., and founded the JU program, has placed an emphasis on recruiting players from traditional and non-traditional areas, providing her team with as much diversity as any roster in Division I lacrosse. The athletes perform well in JU’s record-setting scoring system.

“We think our style of play, our location and our school make JU a very attractive place for the top players in the country,’’ she said. “We would like to continue being one of the most fun teams to watch. Our players certainly are fun to coach every day. We think lacrosse practice should be the most fun part of our team’s day and look for top student-athletes who have the same values. This class is a reflection of these values.”

JU returned to its Maryland connections for seven of its class of 2016. Samantha Bauer (Saints Peter & Paul), Kelsey Wilson (Saints Peter and Paul), and Amy Cecere (St. Mary’s) come to JU from Maryland United, one of the top elite club programs in the country. Kelsey Wiglesworth (Towson), Allie Colson (Manchester Valley), Summer Wassel (Dulaney), and Kelly Lacy (Towson) are veteran elite club players from nationally acclaimed Skywalkers lacrosse club.

“We have had a lot of success with student-athletes from top club programs and we always look to build our program around the happy, successful student-athletes on our roster,’’ McCord said. “They sell our program by example on and off the field and you can see this with the large number of Maryland United and Skywalkers players in the 2012 class.”

Joining the class are a pair of athletes from Florida, Kirstin Purdy (Park Vista) and Katie Kastner (Palm Coast). Both were standouts for the LaxManiax Black elite club program. Their club team won 21 games against elite club competition at national recruiting events.

“The LaxManiax players are as competitive as they come and I don’t think any other program in the country utilizes southern athletes as well as we do,’’ McCord said. “The Florida and Georgia players have shined in our big games against top-20 opponents and we certainly want to keep the pipeline open in the south.”

Rounding out the recruiting class are Kara Cunningham (Auburn, NY), from Upstate New York’s Star Riders club, and Sally Holbert (Upper Arlington, OH) from Midwestern Force lacrosse club. JU has several starters from upstate New York currently on the roster as well as one Ohio native.

Coach McCord’s Class Assessment

Samantha Bauer – Defense/Midfield, 6-feet: “We feel like Sam is one of the top defensive players in the country and she has all the tools for running the system. She is a defensive player, but she can run the midfield very well and is a tall target at 6-foot.”

Kelsey Wilson – Attack, 5-8: “Kelsey has a nice left hand and was a very productive scorer for Maryland United this summer. We think she can help our attack from the right side of the pipe. Sam and Kelsey played for a high school program that went 13-2 and a club program that won nearly all their games.”

Amy Cecere – Defense, 5-10: “Amy has as much athleticism as anyone in our class. She is tall and plays with a great amount of range defensively. When Sam and Amy play next to each other there is not a lot of daylight for attackers to see and their foot-speed closes down lanes in a hurry.”

Kelsey Wiglesworth – Midfield, 5-9: “Kelsey is deceptively fast but she is also tall and strong which are all rare combinations for midfielders. We think she is a blue-chip prospect who a lot of schools missed on. She is versatile and has a lot of potential.”

Kelly Lacy – Midfield/Defense, 5-5: “Kelly is a good athlete and one of the fiercest competitors in the class. She helped her volleyball team to a state title and her club team seldom lost a game. I love her passion and work ethic.”

Summer Wassel – Midfield/Defense, 5-4: “Summer has great quickness and is a very strong possession player. She is versatile and speedy and those are great attributes for our system.”

Allie Colson – Attack/Midfield, 5-3: “Allie has very soft hands around the goal. She is an excellent scorer. She is also very fast and quick and moves with deception. We think she is a great playmaker.”

Kirstin Purdy – Attack, 5-2: “Kirstin is a strong athlete who plays the transition game very well. She is a great connector on the field and a very hard worker off the field. She has not played lacrosse very long yet she is among the top players in the south. That speaks volumes to her potential.”

Katie Kastner – Goal Keeper, 5-5: “Katie is a nice stopper. She has a lot of energy and communicates as well as any keeper we have seen. In the south we feel she was the top goal keeper in the class of 2012.”

Kara Cunningham – Defense, 5-8: “Kara is a great defensive player who is a three-sport athlete. She is all-region in upstate New York which is a top proving ground for college players. We feel her athleticism is going to take over in college running our system.

Sally Holbert – Attack, 5-8: “Sally is a very productive high school player competing at a high level at Upper Arlington, one of the top programs in the Midwest. She is athletic and has good height on attack. She is a team-first player.”