The women’s lacrosse team enters the 2016 season sporting many new faces, including a new head coach. Kim Williams has joined the Cardinal team in hopes of leading the women to success as she did previously at Stockton University and at Colby. Joining Kim are nine new first-years: Amy Breitfeller, Breanna Cavanaugh, Molly Crabtree, Abigail Horst, Antonia Kaz, Emilie Ogden-Fung, Lily SanGiovanni, Caroline Sgaglione, and Caitlin Wood. These newcomers comprise the largest class on the roster. The rest of the team is made up of sophomores Sara Bennett, Julia Black, Dana Mitchell, Elizabeth Spitz, and Jane Tewksbury, juniors Rachel Aronow, Leah Giacalone, Meghan Kelly, Liana Mathias, Grace McCann, Becca Phillips, and Meredith Smith, and seniors Emily Gretsky, Martha Harding, Nina Labovich, and Abby Reed. Together, the twenty-five athletes make up a promising, eager, and talented squad.
The Cards started off their season with a matchup against NESCAC foe Bates. Wes fell 12-0, but had some important tallies for individual players. Both Black and Smith had three shots on goal each. Labovich recorded ten saves in goal. Last season, Black recorded ten goals while Smith was the leading goal scorer. Labovich ended the 2015 season with a total of 848:42 minutes in net, making a total of 118 saves and earning herself a fourth place ranking in the league for saves.
The following Wednesday, March 9, the team faced Wheaton College and muscled out a win in overtime. Aronow rocketed the Cards into sudden death, scoring with only fifteen seconds left to tie the score at 7-7 against the Lyons. Phillips closed out the comeback win with a goal in the extra session, clinching the 8-7 victory. Aronow had two goals and three assists in the nail-biter. Labovich tallied thirteen saves in net. Just one season ago, Aronow scored fifteen goals, while Phillips scored seven goals and six assists in 2015.
Keeping up with the hectic spring break schedule, the Cards hit the field again that Saturday, March 12, against NESCAC rival Hamilton. Wes lost 11-2 to the No. 13 Continentals. The Cards held strong on defense, tallying up advantages in both ground balls and draw controls. However, the Continentals outshot Wes to bring home the win. Sgaglione scored the first goal of her college lacrosse career in the contest. Mitchell added to Sgaglione’s goal to give Wes a final total of two points.
The squad was at it again the next Tuesday, March 15, traveling to Haverford for a close 9-8 loss. The Fords bulldozed ahead 6-0 in the first half after only twelve minutes of play. Wes rallied back, going on a hot streak of five goals in a row to narrow the deficit. Phillips contributed two goals and this was followed by scores from Black and Aronow. The half ended with Haverford leading 7-5. Black scored again in the second half and Harding finished out the game with a goal. Unfortunately, Haverford also converted once more to leave the Cards just shy of a tie. Bennett led the game with five ground balls, and Labovich had ten saves.
Four days later, Wes battled it out with another NESCAC team, No. 4 Middlebury. The Cards fell 13-5 to the undefeated Panthers. Considering the Panthers impressive ranking and record, this result seemed to be a marked improvement from losses to the weaker opponents in Hamilton and Haverford. Additionally, after falling behind by a large margin, the Cardinals kept the game very close in the second half. The sides scored four goals apiece after the intermission. Middlebury outshot Wes overall, but Harding, Mathias, Mitchell, and Horst all sniped goals for the Cardinals. Last season, Mathias tallied 12 assists and 21 goals, leading the Cards in points.
This upcoming Saturday, March 26, the Cards will host Kean University at 1 p.m. So far, the Cougars are undefeated, going 6-0 for the start of their season. The Cougars have averaged sixteen goals per game, cruising past opponents by wide margins. Wes will look to narrow the gap and give the Cougars the competition they’ve been looking for this season. Although the Cards hosted Wheaton on home turf over break, this will be the first home game since Wes has returned to classes. With rowdy and crowded bleachers, the team will look to confidently blow up the scoreboard and give Kean a wake-up call.