The Saint Mary’s lacrosse team was on the verge of earning a spot in the top four MIAA Tournament a year ago. The Belles are poised to be one of those top four teams this spring as the program continues to grow and compete at a high level.
The team looks to the leadership and experience of a growing group of returning players to lead the way in 2017. Emilie Vanneste ’17, Lauren Telford ’17, Katlynn Dee ’17, and Shannon Weyer ’17have all helped lay the foundation for the program. The four are the first group to have been members of the lacrosse team for four seasons as the Belles enter their fourth spring of competition. That group has also led Saint Mary’s to establishing one of the best defenses in the MIAA as the Belles continue to grow in strength in all capacities of the game.
Vanneste and Telford each have high expectations to help pace the offense in 2016. Vanneste became the first player for the program to eclipse 100 career points last spring. Telford posted her best season to-date with career-bests for goals, assists, and points. The pair are rejoined by Clare Theisen ’18, Kate Kelly ’19, and Hanna Makowski ’18. Theisen has already surpassed 100 career ground balls and aims to become the first Belle with 100+ points, 100+ draw controls, and 100 career ground balls. Kelly stormed onto the scene by leading the team in points, assists, and ground balls while earning the program’s first All-MIAA First Team recognition. Makowski has been a consistent contributor during her first two seasons and was fourth on the team in points a year ago.
Dee, an All-MIAA Second Team honoree in each of the past two seasons, along with goalkeepers Weyer and Cara Givens ’19 were key components of a stingy and effective defense. The trio helped the team set new benchmarks for most caused turnovers in a season, lowest goals against average in a season, and highest save percentage in a season.
Along with several returning players and newcomers, the Belles aim to be in the running for an MIAA tournament berth and championship in 2017.
The team opens the season with three contests in three days' time in Florida. The Belles kick off the season against Smith on March 14. The home opener on the new Purcell Athletic Field is slated for Saturday, March 25 agains Ohio Northern. MIAA action begins for Saint Mary's on Wednesday, April 5 when the Belles host Olivet.