2017 holds promise for lacrosse team
Following a record-breaking offensive season that led Longwood women’s lacrosse to its fourth straight season of a .500 or better record in the Big South, the Lancers are looking for more of the same heading into 2017.
Led by Preseason All-Big South midfielder Madison Stair ’18, a communication studies major from Frederick, Maryland, the Lancers enter head coach Elaine Jones’ fifth season coming off five consecutive top-five finishes in the Big South. Last year, Stair and then-seniors Sarah Butler ’16 and Katie McHugh ’16 formed the backbone of the Lancers’ attack, which was among the three best in the Big South.
This year, Stair is taking the lead after a 41-goal sophomore campaign that she parlayed into becoming Longwood’s first Preseason All-Big South selection since the program joined the conference in 2013.
But the 2017 Lancers are about more than just scoring goals, as returning starting goalkeeper Imani West ’18, a liberal studies major from Maplewood, New Jersey, steps back into goal after posting a 12.21 goals against average and a .406 save percentage a year ago.
Anchoring the defense in front of her will be senior Maddie Rollins ’17, a kinesiology major from Dummerston, Vermont. Rollins is a three-year starter who ranked among the Big South’s top five in ground balls last season.
2016’s momentum carries baseball team into new season
The 2016 season was historic for Longwood baseball, and the Lancers look to carry that momentum into 2017, head coach Ryan Mau’s third season.
One year after winning 32 games, the most since Longwood became a full-fledged Division I institution 10 years ago, and earning a second-place finish in the Big South standings, the Lancers head into 2017 with an even deeper squad.
Last season, Longwood flashed grit and tenacity from opening weekend through the Big South Championship Tournament.
That never-quit mentality saw Longwood emerge as the best Friday night team in the Big South last spring, as the Lancers, led by senior ace Travis Burnette ’16 stormed to a 12-2 record in series openers, including a series-opening win over eventual College World Series Champion Coastal Carolina.
Burnette finished 8-2 with a 2.35 ERA en route to All-Big South first team honors but leaves the Lancers with a sizable hole at the front of the starting rotation. However, Longwood is primed to make up for his absence with a stout offensive lineup and a deep pitching staff made up of several arms ready to make a Burnette-like jump on the mound.
Anchoring the lineup will be the hard-hitting duo of Alex Lewis ’17, a senior business major from Burke, and Michael Osinski ’18, a sociology major from Vestal, New York, two middle-of-the-order bats who both hit over .300 and combined to drive in 80 runs in 2016. Lewis returns as one of the best pure hitters in the conference, earning All-Big South first team honors after raking a .369 batting average with five homers, 22 doubles and a teamleading 45 RBI during his breakout junior campaign. Osinski, meanwhile, turned a torrid second half into a final batting line of .305 with 18 extra-base hits and 35 runs driven in.
Women’s tennis and golf: what’s ahead this spring
With a successful senior trio and a new head coach, the Longwood women’s tennis team entered its season this spring with high hopes. Seniors Paloma Alatorre, a communication studies major from Guadalajara, Mexico, Anna Pelak, a liberal studies major from McLean, and Mason Thomas, history major from Buchanan Dam, Texas, have been bedrocks of the program since their freshman year, amassing a combined 79 singles wins as four-year starters. They enter their final season as the winningest class in the program’s Division I era.
The team’s new head coach is former ITA Assistant Coach of the Year Maria Lopez. Lopez took over the program this season after helping Barry University to two NCAA Championships during her six-year stint as the program’s top assistant coach from 2011-16. She inherits a Lancer program coming off back-to-back double-digit wins for the first time in the program’s 10-year Division I era.
Longwood women’s golf heads into the spring with plenty of momentum following a fall in which a number of records fell.
Third-year head coach Shannon Briggs’ squad saw all three returning members of last year’s starting five post career-low scores. In addition, Longwood posted its first sub-200 round since the 2012-13 season with a 297 in the final round of the CSU Invitational.
Senior Courtney Tolton ’17, a business major from Mitchell, Ontario, headlined the group with her second career victory in comefrom- behind fashion at the Towson Tignanelli Invitational. Tolton joined Amanda Steinhagen ’14 for second place on Longwood’s charts in career wins in the Division I era. Crystina Kertsos ’17, a business major from Pickering, Ontario, posted her first career topfive at the Towson Tignanelli Invitational, posting rounds of 76 and 75. That tournament was part of a fall season in which Kertsos placed among the top 30 in three of her four events.
Men’s tennis and golf head into spring with enthusiasm
Last season, the Longwood men’s tennis team went through a major culture change under then-first-year head coach Pierre Tafelski and ended the year with seven wins. This year, Tafelski’s squad looks to cash in on their hard work and take the next step.
Tafelski, the former ITA Division II Assistant Coach of the Year, has four players returning from last year’s squad, headlined by team captain Florian Uffer ’17, a business major from Savognin, Switzerland, who won 10 singles matches as the primary No. 2 seed, and Julian Farthing ’19, a business major from London, England, who went 19-8 in singles play as a freshman.
Tafelski has also added a strong crop of freshmen to the second edition of his Lancers, including Amadeo Hervas ’20, a business major from Valencia, Spain, who has already ascended to the team’s No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles spots.
The culture change under Tafelski showed itself early in the season, as the Lancers opened the spring 4-1 for the first time in the program’s 10-year Division I era.
In men’s golf, after a fall season in which the Lancers posted three top-five finishes infive events, Kevin Fillman’s squad looks to take the next step heading into the spring. With a roster that includes two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior among its starting five, the squad is one of the youngest teams in the Big South.
That young core carried the team last season— Jordan Boulton ’19, a business major from Mansfield, England, Adam Szwed ’19, a business major from Woodbridge, and Nick Contini ’18, a business major from Granville, Ohio—led the team in stroke average. Now those three will lead the Lancers into the spring after a fall in which Contini notched three straight top-15 finishes and Boulton carded a top-five finish at the EKU Intercollegiate.
Lancers fans can get a firsthand look at Fillman’s 2016-17 squad in April when Longwood hosts the Longwood/Manor Intercollegiate on April 1-2 at The Manor Golf Club in Farmville.