In a little more than a week’s time, the 2007 Georgetown team will find out what the number four can do.

Ranked the No. 4 recruiting class in the NCAA by Inside Lacrosse, the 11 newcomers to the women’s team may prove the decisive ingredient in the pursuit of its first NCAA title this spring.

“They’re a pretty intense group of kids that also like to have a lot of fun,” Head Coach Ricky Fried said. “And they’ve come in with an expectation of helping our program reach a goal – winning the national championships.”

In a press release from December 2005, half of the eight recruits who had committed at that time mentioned the opportunity of winning an NCAA championship as one of their main motivations behind choosing Georgetown.

“Knowing that we’ve been close and haven’t quite gotten there attracts a certain type of individual who wants to be the first in the group to win a national championship,” Fried said.

By the numbers, the newcomers feature three attackers, three midfielders, four defenders and a goalkeeper. Ten are freshmen and one is a sophomore transfer from Ohio. All of the new team members hail from Maryland, where they starred in sports beyond lacrosse, ranging from field hockey to squash.

The team’s common Maryland pedigree is not surprising – the Old Line State is a fertile breeding ground of lacrosse talent – and neither is its talent in sports other than lacrosse. Recruiting multi-sport athletes has traditionally been a part of Fried’s philosophy because of the value of their varied experiences to the team.

“The nature of women’s lacrosse has changed in that there are a lot more people playing and a lot more people capable playing at this level,” Fried said. “It’s one of our more athletic classes across the board. And when I say that, I mean speed-wise – it’s a very fast group, a very competitive group. And the skill level continues to increase every year with our freshman classes.”

Attacker Molly Ford, named an all-American honorable mention, headlines the class with her stealthy attack skills.

“Molly will be playing on the attacking end for us. We look for her to give significant minutes for us,” Fried said. “Her skills, stick work and her ability to finish the ball are exceptional. In addition to that, she has a high lacrosse IQ, especially for a freshman, so she understands what we’re looking for and has a good feel for the game.”

Ford’s offense has already caught the eye of senior goalkeeper and co-captain Maggie Koch. “I can say from a defensive standpoint, Molly just has a great shot, and a lot of time you just don’t see it coming,” Koch said.

Midfielder Ashby Kaestner is also expected to contribute immediately. In high school, she was named an academic all-American and a Wendy’s High School Heisman Award finalist.

“Ashby is going to play on the midfield. She’s a very good athlete, she’s certainly competitive,” Fried said. “She could be a very big offensive force in the second midfield, he added, touting Kaestner’s talent with and without the ball.

“Ashby is very aggressive and she has that attitude where she doesn’t see herself as a freshman,” senior defender Chloe Asselin said. “She knows she belongs where she is, which is really good. She just has that attitude that she’s not intimidated.”

Fried also singled out defender Melanie Hilbush as a potential asset for her strong one-on-one skills and defensive aggression. Hilbush starred on her varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams in high school. She was named an Under Armour all-American and a US Lacrosse Academic all-American in 2006.

“Our defensive end of the field is pretty senior-laden,” Fried said. “So it’s going to be hard to break into the lineup, but we think that [Hilbush] has a possibility of contributing at some point based on her athleticism.”

Fried expects even those players who won’t immediately see playing time to contribute to team dynamics on and off the field.

“We have a couple kids in the freshman class that are characters and keep people loose . on the field. Even if they’re not contributing necessarily as much as they would like to on game day, every day at practice they’re helping push the teammates,” he said.

Joining Ford on attack will be freshman Sarah Seats and redshirt sophomore transfer Devon Dow. Seats, who brings valuable speed to the team, was a member of the IAAM Championship lacrosse team in 2003 and 2006. Dow started all 16 games at Ohio and racked up 15 goals and three assists before a torn ACL sidelined her. She amassed 125 goals and 95 assists over her high school career.

In the midfield, Emily Bock and Caroline Shettle will team up with Kaestner. Shettle was named a first team all-American as a senior and all-American second team as a junior.

Joining Hilbush on defense will be Jackie Proch, Blake Sheehan and Mallory Twist. Sheehan is known for her superb eight-meter defense, while Twist’s strong off-ball instincts should help the Hoyas protect the cage.

Caitlin Formby will defend the goal for Georgetown, though not immediately. Inside Lacrosse Magazine touted Formby, saying she “could be GU’s goalie of the future” – certainly a possibility for a goalie who has played for the UnderArmour all-American south team and was named to mid-Atlantic team three.

Already, the veterans can see hunger in the freshmen’s eyes. “You can tell that they all just play so hard and they want it as much as we do,” Asselin said.

“They see us doing the extra work and playing on our own and everything, so I think they believe in us, believe in what we’re telling them,” Koch said.

Perhaps this spring, with a top crop of newcomers who have been dreaming of competing for a Blue and Gray NCAA title long before they stepped onto the Hilltop, the No. 4 freshmen can take a preseason No. 3 team and turn them into No. 1.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.