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Women's Lacrosse To Host Canisius College on Saturday

Feb. 22, 2007

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THIS WEEK IN GAEL LACROSSE
The Saint Mary's women's lacrosse team will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 24 with the second game of a seven-game homestand to open the 2007 season. Saint Mary's will host the Canisius College Griffins at Noon on Saturday in Saint Mary's Stadium. Saint Mary's enters the game against the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference team with an 0-1 record following a 22-6 loss to No. 16 Stanford to open the season last Friday. Canisius has not played a game this season, but will play California on Thursday, Feb. 22 before meeting up with the Gaels on Saturday.

SCOUTING THE CANISIUS COLLEGE GRIFFINS
Canisius College comes into the 2007 season with 15 players returning from a team that posted a 12-7 overall mark and a 6-1 MAAC record in 2006. The Griffins are picked to finish second in the conference's preseason coaches poll as they return their top three scorers and eight of their top nine from last season.

The players that highlight the returners are junior attacker Whitney Card and sophomore midfielder Ashley Gray. Both were selected to the preseason All-MAAC Team by the conference coaches. Card led the team with 65 points last season as she scored 53 goals and handed out 12 assists. As a freshman, Gray finished third on the team with 50 points, but was second on the squad as she scored 31 goals.

The Griffins also return their starting goalkeeper from last season in Rasheeda Brenton. Brenton started 17 of 19 games last season and played in 18 games overall. Brenton posted an 11-7 overall record last season while posting an 11.9 goals against average with 149 saves .

SMC VERSUS CANISIUS; THE SERIES
When Saint Mary's and Canisius College meet on Saturday, it will mark the second meeting all-time between the two schools. Saint Mary's won the first game between the two schools with a 12-6 win in Moraga during SMC's inaugural season in 2000.

LOOKING BACK AT THE LAST GAME
Saint Mary's opened it 2007 season and its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation campaign with a 22-6 defeat to the No. 16 ranked Stanford Cardinal.

Stanford's Lauren Schmidt opened the game with the first goal just 1:20 in to the contest and SMC's Jackie Spencer answered at the 24:01 mark of the half to even the score at 1-1. From there, the first half was all Stanford as the Cardinal ran off nine straight goals before the Gaels answered on an unassisted goal by Sonja Kapusta at the 9:37 mark.

Kapusta led the Gaels with three points on a goal and two assists and Spencer finished the game with two goals.

Stanford out shot the Gaels 32-15, and Stanford goalkeeper Laura Shane finished the game with six saves to record the win in net. The Saint Mary's goalkeeping duo of Hilary Gardner and Sara Jo Rodriguez finished the game with four total saves, as both players recorded two saves each.

7-GAME HOMESTAND LONGEST IN PROGRAM
Saint Mary's will open the 2007 campaign with seven home games. The seven-game homestand matches the longest in the eight-year history of women's lacrosse program. In the first year of the program (2000) Saint Mary's played seven of its last eight games at home.

SMC FACES FIVE MAAC OPPONENTS IN 2007
This season, Saint Mary's will play five games against teams from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Saturday's game against Canisius will mark game one of four straight games against the MAAC. Included in the MAAC run are home games against Canisius, Le Moyne, Siena and Iona. The final game against the MAAC will have the Gaels on the road at Manhattan on April 6.

Jackie Spencer IN SMC RECORD BOOKS
Senior midfielder Jackie Spencer ranks in the top-10 in all three offensive scoring categories. Spencer entered the season ranked fourth in total points with 87, third in goals with 70, and seventh in assists with 17. With her two points this season, she is one point behind Molly Wagner for third place. Her 72 career goals is 61 goals behind Megan Bryan's second place total of 133. She will need five assists to match Thera Luce's career total of 22 assists, which ranks sixth.

Jen Utley PLAYED BIG IN FIRST TWO YEARS
In her first two season, Jen Utley has collected 80 points, which ranks fifth all-time at SMC. She has scored 54 goals and dished out 26 assists in 36 games. As a freshman, she had 46 points on 34 goals and 12 assists. Those totals rank ninth and seventh in goals and assists, respectively, in a single season.

SMC YOUTH MOVEMENT
The 2007 SMC women's lacrosse roster is filled with a lot of youth. This season, SMC took the field with 20 players. The roster is made up of one senior, five juniors, seven sophomores, and six freshmen. Sixty-five percent of this season's roster are underclassmen, and 95 percent of the roster should return for the 2008 season.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR SMC
The Saint Mary's women's lacrosse team will return to action on Wednesday, February 28 when the Gaels host the Le Moyne Dolphins in a 3:30 PM game from Saint Mary's Stadium. The Gaels will close the week on Saturday, March 3 with an afternoon match-up against the Siena Saints. The game between SMC and Siena is slated to begin at 1:00 PM in Saint Mary's Stadium.