c/o Bre Cavanaugh

c/o Bre Cavanaugh

Wesleyan women’s lacrosse is on a roll, with no signs of slowing down. Currently, the Cardinals are on an eight-game winning streak, the longest in program history, as they continue to prove to their opponents why they are counted among the most impressive teams in the country.

The streak began back on Saturday, April 6, with a win over No. 3 nationally ranked Tufts. Beating Tufts in the regular season was nothing new to the Red and Black, as they had defeated them 14–10 in the 2023 season. Despite this substantial win, they suffered heartbreaking close losses to the Jumbos in both the NESCAC Semifinals and NCAA Tournament Third Round to end last year’s season. This meant emotions were high, but the team made sure to not let the past affect their performance. 

“One thing that contributed to the win was our mentality going into the game,” midfielder Kiara Tangney ’25 said. “I think, in years past, we have played nervous against teams that are notoriously harder games. And this year, we really honed in on our slogan of ‘fearless together.’” 

The game was a back-and-forth battle, as neither team held more than a two-goal lead for the entire first half. Midfielder Dylan Green ’26 powered the Wesleyan offense, scoring a hat trick before halftime. The third quarter started with the Cards down 9–11, but the Jumbos managed to extend their lead to 11–15 by the time the period ended. Despite being down, the Cardinals kept their composure. Goalkeeper Izzy Weintraub ’26 and the defensive unit shut out the highest-scoring team in the nation for the entire fourth quarter, while Laura Baine ’24 scored a spectacular goal with under two minutes left to seal the win. Baine ended the game with five goals, while Tangney finished with a career high of four goals. 

Captain and midfielder Molly Greer ’24 credits this victory to a collective winning mindset. 

“What was special about that game is that, no matter how much we were down by, we never let that dictate the momentum of the game,” Greer said. “Every single one of us believed that we could win that game.”

The Cardinals faced another NESCAC opponent, Trinity, just four days later. The game was up and down, as each team gained and lost momentum throughout the four quarters. Ultimately, the Cardinals came out victorious, despite six unanswered goals by the Bantams to end the game. Attackers Olivia Lai ’23 MA ’24 and Baine continued to lead the offense with four goals each, while the Wesleyan defense was dominant, tallying a season-high 20 caused turnovers. 

Baine noted the Cardinals’ ability to remain focused, even when faced with frustrating adversity. 

“I think once we were winning the draw and locking in on our game plan from defense to offense, we were having success,” Baine said. “There were definitely ups and downs during that game. But I would say that a great team always finds a way, and we did.”

With that win behind them, the Cardinals turned their focus toward the weekend: a double-header against NESCAC opponent Hamilton and No. 2 ranked William Smith College. Although the Red and Black were eager to cement themselves as one of the top teams in the country by beating another ranked opponent, they were careful not to overlook their Saturday matchup against the Continentals. 

c/o Daniel Gessel

c/o Daniel Gessel

“Any NESCAC game, we have the mentality that we have to perform well, because anyone could come out,” Tangney said. “We knew that we couldn’t overlook Hamilton to look at the next game.”

The Cardinals beat the Continentals 14–7, maintaining the lead from start to finish. Five Cardinal goals in the opening nine minutes set the tone, and a dominant defensive effort allowed just three goals in the first half and four in the second. Weintraub tied her career-high saves with eight, shutting Hamilton out in the fourth quarter. Although this win helped to cement the Cardinals’ position at the top of the NESCAC, the team worked to remain focused for their second game of the weekend.

“We know that when we do have doubleheaders later on in our season, we’re fighting for a championship,” Weintraub said. “So [we need to be] keeping that day-two mentality, making sure we’re staying focused, expecting that things are going to be messy at times [and] not look perfect, but just knowing that having that mentality [that] we can keep pushing, we can keep working for each other.”

On Sunday, the Cardinals reached the main event of the weekend with their matchup against William Smith. The first half was tight, as the teams traded goals, and it ended with Wesleyan leading just 6–5. But as the third quarter kicked off, the Cardinals locked in and ripped five goals, including three by Lai, to assume an 11–6 lead. Though the Herons came back stronger in the fourth, and closed out the game with a four-goal run, they were unable to make up the growing deficit. The Cardinals earned themselves a stellar 13–10 victory over the second-highest ranked team in the country. If other teams hadn’t been paying attention to the Cardinals before, they certainly were now. 

“Now we are a top-ranked team,” Tangney said. “We are the best of the best. And we compete against the best of the best every day [at] practice. And I think, after that game, it really showed that as a team, we can be challenged, and we can rise to the challenge.”

Following that thrilling victory, the Cardinals returned to NESCAC play with another double-header weekend that kicked off with their matchup versus No. 23 Bowdoin on Saturday, April 20. The Cardinals assumed a lead almost immediately, and were up 8–2 by halftime. After adding three more goals, including two by Baine, the score was 11–2 at the end of the third quarter. Though the Polar Bears eventually got some more points towards the end of the fourth, they were unable to make up the deficit and the Cards secured a 12–7 victory.

The next day, the Cardinals had another dominant showing, crushing Bates 18–5 in their highest margin and highest scoring win of the season. This game was a particularly excellent showcase of the team’s depth, as 15 different Cardinals registered at least one point. 

“I’m really proud of the way our entire team stepped up,” McLaughlin said. “Every single person on our field can battle it out and get the job done. We didn’t dip to our opponent, which is something we’ve really been working on. We’ve been playing at our level with the same consistency and intensity no matter who the opponent is.” 

The regular season wrapped up on Wednesday, April 24, with a decisive 15–5 victory over Conn. College, making the Card’s record 13–2 overall and 8–2 in conference, and giving them the No. 2 seed going into the NESCAC Tournament, which kicks off this weekend with their quarterfinal matchup at home against Bowdoin. Though proud of all they’ve accomplished so far this season, the Cardinals are ready for more.

“It’s important that our team just stays hungry coming into this weekend, and we stay unsatisfied,” McLaughlin said. “We want to be showing everybody what we’re capable of. So, honestly, we’ve kind of put [the regular] season in the past. We’re starting a whole new season. We’ll continue maintaining that passion and that eagerness to win, and stay hungry.”

Erin Byerly can be reached at ebyerly@wesleyan.edu.

Georgia Adams can be reached at gadams@wesleyan.edu.