Sports

Women’s lacrosse looks to improve on 2016 season

Bruno opens its season this week with two home games against Sacred Heart, Holy Cross

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, February 17, 2017

After a season of disappointment, the women’s lacrosse team is hopeful and eager for the 2017 season, which starts Saturday against Sacred Heart.

Having won only a single conference game in the 2016 season, Bruno finished the year tied for last in the Ivy League with a 6-9 overall record. The Bears are one of two Ivy League women’s lacrosse teams to have never won a conference championship.

Bruno lost six seniors from last year’s team, but in their place enters the class of 2020 — a nine-player group in which Head Coach Keely McDonald ’00 sees promise.

“They’re a very positive, hard-working crew that just adds to those elements of our culture,” McDonald said.

Co-captain Kerianne Hunt ’17 said the first-year class has already raised the competitive spirit of the team. They “just bring this … fresh, really dynamic, fiery spirit to our team,” Hunt said.

They are “so united in everything they do, they have the strongest, hardest work ethic and they are also so eager to learn from us,” she added. “It’s really encouraging to teach them and also to see how much they want to get better. … They have already made an incredible impact on the team.”

Beyond their attitude, the first-year class adds much-needed depth to the 30-player roster, McDonald said.

“We will definitely have some freshmen contributing on really every area of the game,” she said.

The most notable loss is attacker Lauren Toy ’16, who led the Bears in goals and assists last year.

Despite Toy’s absence, Bruno is returning most of its offensive arsenal. Jillian Lee ’17, Rose Mangiarotti ’18, Zoe Verni ’19 and Hunt tallied 15, 13, nine and nine goals last season respectively.

The team will also bring back hybrid attacker and midfielder Hafsa Moinuddin ’19, who broke out as a rookie. She netted 12 goals and added eight assists in 12 games last season.

The Bears have been working in order to better their fitness. While Ivy League regulations limit the number of offseason practices the team is able to have, it has been conditioning throughout the fall in preparation for spring, with a twist — all of the team’s conditioning is done with lacrosse stick in hand to benefit the team’s play without violating league policies, Hunt said.

“We had two scrimmages this past Saturday at UConn, and our coach made the comment that we outlasted both of the two teams we played,” she added. “I think that’s just a result of our hard work.”

“To be a great Ivy League team, you have to put in work on your own,” McDonald said. “That really comes from the players owning the team,” she added.

A poor 2016 campaign is reflected in Bruno’s external expectations. In a recent preseason media poll, Brown was predicted to finish the season last in the Ivy League.

As is often the case with a team slated to underperform and up against a difficult challenge, the Bears are setting their sights high but focusing on what they can control: themselves.

“Our top priority is to focus on us,” Hunt said. “In doing that, we are going to have a successful, winning season with the goal of getting to the Ivy Tournament and winning the Ivy League Championship.”

The team’s 2017 campaign begins at home, where they will take on Sacred Heart Saturday and the College of the Holy Cross Tuesday. The Bears will then fly to Orlando, Fla. to play Louisville.

For now, McDonald is eager to get started.

“We (have) got to play games,” McDonald said. “We really just need to go against another opponent. That’s the best way to learn and the best way to grow and identify strengths and weaknesses.”