The women’s lacrosse team is coming off of a 2019 season where they dominated in conference play, going 5-1 in the Big South and winning their final five regular season games before losing to Winthrop by a score of 12-9 in the Big South Tournament semifinals.
Head coach Elaine Jones laid out her expectations for the 2020 season. “We always expect to finish 1st in conference. We got a taste of getting to the conference tournament last year and we were a little let down because we were not able to perform better. Getting to the finals is a long-term goal.”
Jones added that she wants the team to be better in non-conference play this season because she believes that they started off slow and let a few games get away from them. The team was 3-7 in non-conference play in 2019 and Jones believes that they can improve that in 2020.
The team returns a majority of its starters this season, including senior attacker Kaitlyn Luccarrelli, senior defensive player Corri Calandra and sophomore attacker Nicole Fordyce, who were all given Preseason All-Big South honors.
Jones spoke on the impact that these three women make to on the team. “I expect big things from them. Kaitlyn and Corri are both seniors so they’re very driven on ending on a high note. All three are very capable players. We have Kaitlyn and Nikki (Fordyce) bringing it on offense and Corri holding it down on defense so we’re set.”
Jones also made sure to mention other players that Lancer fans should be on the lookout for this season. “On the defensive end, Olivia Zubillaga helps Corri anchor that defense. We’re also exited for the return of Molly Barkman, who was out last year with an injury. Dana Joss is always a threat. Our newcomers are still coming along but we’re excited about them.”
A stat that did not work in the team’s favor last season was the average of 12.82 goals per game given up, compared to the average of 11.41 goals scored per game. Jones remains optimistic that the team can change those numbers for the better this season. “I think it’s just another year older and another year wiser for our team. We have eight seniors and they’re very well-seasoned. We’re looking for them to lead the way. Some of them can score goals, some of them can hold off goals and hold it down on defense. I think they’re up for the challenge.”
First up for the Lancers in 2020 is the Richmond Spiders, a team that won the Atlantic 10 conference last year en route to an NCAA tournament bid. Jones broke down what it would take for her team to win. “Starting off the season with a win would be great. They are challenging, but we want to focus on us and the things that we do well. We don’t want to ride on what they did last year or what we did last year. It’s a 0-0 game to start and we just have to put our best foot forward.”