Expanding the program

Mesa women's lacrosse team adding more out-of-state players

Kelly Cronin fires a shot at Colorado Mesa keeper Lauren Wells on Thursday during the women’s lacrosse team practice. Cronin is one of several freshmen that Mavs coach Abigail Simpson will be counting on this season. Wells is a veteran presence on the youthful Mesa team, and has started every game in goal for the Mavs since the program’s inception three years ago.


Women’s lacrosse 2013 Mavericks


Paige Amme, fr. — Two-time all-state selection at Columbine High School. Team won Jefferson County League her senior year.

Kelly Cronin, fr. — All-state and Team Oregon selection at Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore.

Keri Kopchik, soph. — Started 12 games for CMU in 2012. Finished with nine goals and six assists.

Tayler Lansdown, jr. — Had 11 goals for Mavericks in 2012. Highest shots-on-goal percentage among regular starters with .897.

Coryann Ledford, fr. — Academic All-American from San Diego, Calif. Team qualified for CIF playoffs senior year.


Ashley Eickhoff, fr. — All-American at El Dorado High School in Yorba Linda, Calif.

Lexie Chavez, soph. — Third on the Mavericks in scoring with 24 goals in 2012.

Allie Henderson, jr. — Mavericks assist leader in 2012 with 11. Second on team with 28 goals.

Kendall Tillman, fr. — All-Centennial League selection at Grandview High School.

Maddie Spor, soph. — Central High School alum. Started 12 games for Mavericks in 2012. Had one goal and four assists.

Melissa Niedfelt, jr. — Played in 12 games for Mavericks and started one. Had three goals and two assists.

Amanda Simon, jr. — Despite missing six weeks because of injury, finished fourth on the team with 14 goals.

Rachael Sutton, soph. — Goal leader for Mavericks in 2012 with 38, narrowly missing school record. Was selected 2012 WILA freshman of the year.

Morgan Nance, jr. — Had 13 ground balls in 10 games for Mavericks.


Kiana Atencio, soph. — Had 10 ground balls and caused five turnovers in 2012. Started three games.

Niki Barban, fr. — Had 23 goals and six assists during her senior year at Ralston Valley High School.

Lauren Elliot, soph. — Finished third on team with 36 ground balls, second with 12 caused turnovers. Labeled by coach Abigail Simpson as “key piece” of freshman class during 2012 season.

Megan Lynch, fr. — All-Centennial League selection. Finished senior year at Grandview High School with 17 goals and five assists.

Adrianna Stone, fr. — All-state selection in Oregon.

Allison Stone, fr. — All-state selection in Oregon. Twin sister of Adrianna.


Lauren Wells, jr. — Only goalie to ever play for CMU. Two-time All-WILA honorable mention.

Kady Herzog, fr. — Top-ranked high school goalie in Nevada.

The recruiting footprint of the Colorado Mesa University women’s lacrosse team is slowly expanding.

Coach Abigail Simpson, during her first two years, signed mostly Colorado recruits. For the 2013 season, Simpson signed big-name players out of Oregon and California. As the buzz builds, Simpson signed more out-of-state recruits for the 2014 season.

“I’m definitely looking to move recruiting east,” Simpson said. “To be honest with you, I only have one Colorado kid signed so far. We have kids from Utah, California, Oregon, and I just had a kid sign from New York. We have a girl from Rhode Island coming in next year. Just today I got a recruiting questionnaire from a kid in Long Island.

“I’m from there, and when I was visiting family I had a camp out there. It only takes signing one kid out there before people start hearing about Colorado Mesa.”

Although CMU was tabbed to finish fourth in the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association coaches poll, Simpson said she is confident a replenished offense with new additions will propel the Mavericks into the top half of the league.

“Last season Amanda Simon was out for six weeks,” Simpson said. “She’s a big part of our offense. Lexie Chavez getting injured hurt us, too.

“I’m confident this year because we actually have a bench on the sideline if we have anyone out with injury or illness this year. Hopefully we won’t have to deal with that, and so far we haven’t.” 

Freshmen will play a key role on the already young team. The program, in its third year, has seen increasingly large recruiting classes. Additions to the offense, built around 2012 goals leader Rachael Sutton, were a focus during the offseason. Sutton was selected the 2012 WILA freshman of the year.

“Ashley Eickhoff is lightning quick, just phenomenally quick with her stick,” Simpson said of the forward. “Kelly Cronin is a low attack player who is quick with finesse and has a nice shot. Cory Ledford is a right-handed attack player with great moves, great shot, great dodges, great kid.”

Five-foot-eight twins Adrianna and Allison Stone, who were all-state players in Tigard, Ore., headline the additions on defense.

“Looking at their size, you wouldn’t think they’re fast, but they are,” Simpson said.

The Mavericks open their season at 1 p.m. Saturday against Regis University at Walker Field.

“This first game against Regis is big for us,” Simpson said. “We lost by five to them last year, so anything can happen.”


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