LANCASTER -- The outcome is not exactly what head coach Jen Muston expected this early in the season.
Not from a York College women's lacrosse team that returns pretty much every starter from last year's squad that ranked a program-best ninth in the nation in various NCAA Division III polls at the end of the year.
The returning talent is the main reason the 2013 preseason polls from the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association and Lacrosse Magazine have the Spartans sitting ninth and 10th, respectively.
In just its second game of the season, York was handed a 13-6 non-conference loss at Franklin & Marshall College on Tuesday afternoon. F&M is ranked No. 14 in the IWLCA poll and No. 13 by Lacrosse Magazine. Plus, the Diplomats were playing their first game of the year under a new head coach with a new offense.
"We just tried to go on some of the things they did last year with some of their returning personnel," Muston said of F&M. "But it's tough when they have a new team, a new coach, a new system."
There is reason for the Spartans (1-1) to be optimistic despite the loss. Around this time last season, F&M beat York by a goal, 7-6. The Spartans responded by going 10-4 the rest of the way to tally a school-record 14 wins, make the program's first trip to the Capital Athletic Conference championship game and grab the school's first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. As a result, Muston was named the CAC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season and was also selected as the IWLCA Region Coach of the Year.
"Stuff like this, when it happens to us early in the season, it can give us a little kick in the right direction," Muston said of Tuesday's loss. "Hopefully we're gonna use it as that."
In her sixth season at the helm of the now eight-year-old women's lacrosse program, Muston has turned the Spartans into a top contender in the CAC and a top-20 Division III club.
Coming off the program's most successful season, the Spartans return nearly their entire roster, including leading scorer Kim Wayson, who earned the program's first-ever IWLCA All-America distinction last year.
Added to the mix is some local talent in freshman Brianna Boyer, a Susquehannock grad, and junior midfielder Jocelyn Hudson, a Central York grad who transferred from D-I Sienna (N.Y.) College. Former York College lacrosse player and Susquehannock girls' coach Danielle Seling has also joined the Spartans' coaching staff.
"We're dreaming big with our goals but we can't really achieve that if we don't take it one step at a time," Muston said. "Today is one of those examples and we just didn't take care of it."
Next game: The Spartans will embark on a trip to Florida next week for a pair of games before returning home March 13 to face No. 10/11 Catholic.
Vautier honored: York senior captain Katie Vautier was named the CAC Women's Lacrosse Defender of the Week on Tuesday. Vautier led the Spartans to a season-opening win at Goucher on Saturday. Vautier notched five draw controls and forced three turnovers in the win. Vautier also had a ground ball. The Spartans only allowed six goals before she left the game.
-- Reach John Walk at email@example.com.