Elon Women’s Lacrosse Opens 2016 Season Friday with Weekend Homestand

ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s lacrosse team begins its 2016 campaign this weekend when it hosts two home games at Rudd Field. The Phoenix opens the season on Friday, Feb. 12, in a 6 p.m. game against San Diego State before hosting Longwood on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 2 p.m.

The 2016 Phoenix
Now in its third season, Elon returns 28 players, including 11 starters, from last year’s squad, while welcoming six newcomers. A total of 11 states are represented on the 2016 roster with nine players each hailing from Maryland and New Jersey. Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina each have three players on the rosters followed by Florida with two and one each from Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

The Coaches
Josh Hexter is in his third season as the Phoenix head coach after being hired to build the program in 2012. Hexter was honored as the Atlantic Sun Women’s Lacrosse Coach of the Year in 2014 after guiding the team to an 8-9 record in its first competitive year. Elon welcomes back second-year assistant coach Brittany Dipper who played collegiately at Maryland where she helped the Terrapins to a national championship in 2010. Taylor Virden returns to the Phoenix this season as volunteer assistant coach after graduating from Duke in spring 2014. Virden played under Hexter while he was an associate head coach for the Blue Devils.

Preseason Accolades
On Jan. 20, the Colonial Athletic Association released its 2016 women’s lacrosse preseason poll and team. Elon earned 13 points in the coaches’ poll and was voted to finish fifth in the league this season, while three Phoenix players – Stephanie Asher, Rachel Ramirez and Sloane Kessler – all received preseason honors. Asher and Remirez were both selected by the league’s head coaches to the Preseason All-CAA Team, while Kessler earned honorable mention.

2016 Schedule
The 2016 Elon slate features 16 games, including eight home games at Rudd Field and a six-game CAA schedule. The Phoenix faces four teams that played in the NCAA Tournament last season and finished ranked in the top 20, including two teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Elon meets 12 teams that it played last season, while facing four new teams for the first time in program history.

New Year, New Venue
After playing its first two seasons in Rhodes Stadium, the Phoenix shifts just a few hundred feet southwest to Rudd Field for the 2016 season. Rudd Field is also home to the Elon men’s and women’s soccer teams and underwent renovations in the summer of 2014 to add new team dugouts and a press box. During the summer of 2015, the field itself underwent a facelift when a drainage system was installed.

The Opposition
The Phoenix takes on new and familiar opponents this weekend in the Aztecs and the Lancers. Friday’s game marks the first between Elon and San Diego State, while the Phoenix has played the Lancers each of the last two years. The maroon and gold claimed a 15-4 victory over Longwood in 2014 in Rhodes Stadium before traveling to Farmville, Va., last season to claim a 10-7 win.

All-Conference Returners
The Phoenix returns eight players that have received either Atlantic Sun or Colonial Athletic Association all-conference honors. Sloane Kessler, Rachel Ramirez, Erin Murnane, Olivia Fernandez and Anna Vitton all earned All A-Sun accolades in 2014, including A-Sun Freshman of the Year honors for Kessler. Last season, Ramirez, Stephanie Asher, Abby Godfrey and Alexis Zadjura all received All-CAA recognition last year.

Looking Back
Elon wrapped up its second competitive season and first as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association in 2015 with an 8-8 overall record. The Phoenix struggled in its first year in the CAA, going 1-5, but claimed victories over three teams the maroon and gold had lost to in its first season in 2014. Elon saw five players earn all-conference honors in 2015, including its second straight rookie of the year award. Stephanie Asher was named the CAA Rookie of the Year and was also named to the All-CAA Second Team and the CAA All-Rookie Team. She was the only freshman to earn first or second team honors. Rachel Ramirez joined Asher on the second team, earning all-conference accolades for the second straight year. Abby Godfrey and Alexis Zadjura were also named to the CAA All-Rookie Team, while Kelli Stack earned a spot on the CAA All-Academic Team.

Welcome, Shelby Scanlin
Elon has a new addition this semester with the transfer of Shelby Scanlin. Scanlin joins the team from Maryland where she played as a freshman in 2015. A native of Raleigh, N.C., she attended Cardinal Gibbons and recorded 369 goals, 69 assists and 375 draw controls in four seasons. Scanlin was named first team all-American at midfield in 2012 and 2013 and earned first team all-conference honors in 2011, 2012 and 2013. While with the Terrapins, she was a member of the 2015 NCAA National Championship team.

Next Up
The Phoenix plays its first road game of the season when it travels to take on Coastal Carolina on Friday, Feb. 19. The game is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Conway, S.C.