The Purple Raiders women’s lacrosse team will be entering the 2020 season in a familiar position and one that has become the expectation in Alliance, Ohio. In preseason polling among the OAC coaches the Raiders were tabbed to finish first. The Raiders won the poll with 64 points overall and received 8 first place votes to just narrowly edge out Capital (61 points and 1 first place vote).
Mount Union will be under the direction of 8th year head coach Emily Fisher but, Coach Fisher will have a new face on her coaching staff this year. 2019 Mount Union alumni Ashley Bernardi will be making the jump to coaching after a decorated playing career for the Purple Raiders. When asked about Bernardi’s impact and transition to coaching, Coach Fisher said that she has been phenomenal, possesses a creative and innovative mind, and has connected very well with the girls on the team. All of this has contributed to a great transition for Bernardi. Coach Fisher also said that John Carroll, Baldwin Wallace, and Capital should all be capable of giving the Raiders a good challenge in conference plan. In the nonconference schedule, Coach Fisher thinks that Kenyon, Allegheny, and Chicago should all be good challenges for the Purple Raiders.
Shifting over to the playing field, the Raiders will have a lot of offensive threats for opposing teams to worry about neutralizing. Some players to watch offensively will be senior Mackenzie Pensyl (Kent/Roosevelt HS), senior Danielle Rohrman (Olney, Maryland/Sherwood HS), and junior Sydney Bumbarger (Newbury Park, California/Newbury Park HS). Defensively, Coach Fisher’s team will be anchored by the play of Rohrman, Pensyl, junior Brenna Duke (Hollywood, Maryland/Leonardtown HS), and senior Brisa Seibert (Spring Brook, New York/Iroquois HS). Their impact for the Raiders will be derived primarily from their experience, defensive ability, and ability as leaders. Regarding captains, Coach Fisher said that Rohrman and Pensyl will captain the Raiders in 2020.
The top teams in the IWLCA rankings have had the tendency to be the adversaries that the Lady Raiders haven’t quite been able to get past in the NCAA tournament but, this could be changing this spring. Coach Fisher said that their development will affect the Raiders ability to compete with top teams but, that ultimately the 2020 Lady Raiders have the potential to close the gap between themselves and the top teams nationally this spring. Coach Fisher and the Lady Raiders will be making their season debut on February 25th when they host Kenyon and will open up OAC play on March 21st when Otterbein travels to Mount Union Stadium.