Lacrosse set for home opener Saturday vs. Old Dominion

Sara Paul
(ScarboroughPhotography.com)
Sara Paul (ScarboroughPhotography.com)

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BUIES CREEK, N.C. --- Campbell is set to open the home portion of its 2017 schedule Saturday against Old Dominion at Barker-Lane Stadium. First draw is set for noon.

The first 100 fans in attendance Saturday will receive a free Campbell Athletics scarf. Admission is free. Fans not in attendance, or those following along in the stadium, can track all the action through live stats available on gocamels.com. Live in-game updates will also be posted on the Camels' Twitter page, @GoCamelsWLAX.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

LAST TIME OUT: The Camels (0-1) opened their 2017 campaign at Elon on Feb. 4, but was dealt a 15-5 loss by the Phoenix. Sarah Paul led Campbell with a pair of free-position goals, but a 7-0 run to by Elon to start the game proved to be the difference. Melissa Placek registered two points on a goal and an assist while Sami Smit and Tina Ricci also found the back of the cage. Merredith Bechler made 13 saves in goal for the Camels.

CAMELS PICKED THIRD: Campbell received its highest preseason billing in program history when the Big South coaches picked the Camels to finish third in the league standings. High Point was tabbed as the preseason favorites followed by defending champions Winthrop in second.

THREE CAMELS EARN PRESEASON HONORS: A program-record three Camels were named to the All-Big South Preseason team and Erin O'Hara was named CU's first ever preseason defensive player of the year. Placek and Kayla Reilly joined O'Hara on the preseason all-conference squad.

ON THE OFFENSE: Campbell features scoring options from a few different players out of the attack and midfield. Paul leads the way so far this season with two goals while Kayla Reilly is the Camels' leading returning scorer with 29 goals last season. Mackenzie Koeller and Carter Koontz bring experience to the fold as juniors while Placek will be called upon as more of a scorer this season. Katlin Steinbauer and Smit also return as sophomores.

A LITTLE DEFNESIVE: The Camel defensive unit is perhaps the most experienced group on the field. O'Hara headlines the unit along with fifth-year senior April Reinhart. Megan Reilly returns as a junior and sophomore Amanda Chasin is back after playing significant minutes as a rookie.

BETWEEN THE PIPES: In goal, the Camels feature three net minders for the first time in program history. Bechler started the opener and is the Camels' all-time leader for minutes and appearances in the cage. Sophomore Kylie Haarhoff returns after making nine appearances as a rookie and Alex Salim has entered the fold as a freshman.

THE NEWBIES: The Camels feature eight new players on their 2017 roster including seven talented freshmen looking to make an impact early in their Campbell careers. Sam Carey started her first career contest at Elon and led the Camels with four draw controls. Ricci came off the bench and registered her first intercollegiate goal. Other rookies on the squad include Mackenzie Griffith, Katie Matz and Maia Walters up front while Allison Waldhauser will add depth to the defense. Ellie Allen also joins the Camels after playing one season at George Washington University.

HEAD COACH DAWN EASLEY: Campbell head coach Dawn Easley is in her fourth season in Buies Creek after leading the Camels to the most successful campaign in program history last year. She led CU to its first winning campaign and a new single-season win record at 10-9. The Camels also won their first postseason contest and advanced to the Big South semifinals. Easley has mentored 12 All-Big South honorees in three years at Campbell and owns a career .559 winning percentage in eight years on the sidelines.

SCOUTING THE MONARCHS: Old Dominion (1-0) is coming off a 2016 ASUN championship and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Monarchs were picked second in the conference preseason poll and Connor Carson was tabbed as a preseason all-conference selection. ODU opened its 2017 campaign with a 10-7 win at VCU led by four goals from Cydney Tutchton. Morgan Marrale assisted on three scores. Overall six monarchs found the back of the cage while Maggi Buckely made nine saves for the Monarchs.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Camels will play the second of three-straight home games Friday, Feb. 24 against VCU at 5 p.m.