|Team captain Megan Healy is a two-time first team All-NCAC and second-team All-Region selection.|
The College of Wooster women's lacrosse team is hoping to pick up in 2019 right where they left off last season after an appearance in the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.
As a No. 3 seed, they avenged a 19-7 regular season loss to Oberlin College with a 14-11 win in the semifinal. The Scots couldn't knock off Denison University in the championship game, falling 17-10, but it was a massive improvement from their 20-6 regular season outcome.
"It was a loss but a giant win," coach Liz Ford said. "Them playing out of their minds in the second game in the finals proved they could play with anybody."
Wooster finished the year 12-4 overall and 6-2 in the NCAC. It was their fourth straight season above .500, and since 2000 they've only had one season below that mark.
The Scots had just two seniors on last year's team, and five players collected All-NCAC selections.
"We're using our success last year as a catalyst, and that's easy to do when we lost minimal players," Ford said.
Two All-NCAC starters graduated from last year's team in Helena Enders and Michaela Lawrence. Enders was second on the team in points (47) and third in goals (30), while Lawrence tallied 29 points and 21 goals.
This year's team has seven seniors. Six of the seven - Emma Lawrence, Megan Myers, Laura Papp, Megan Healy, Natalie Souleyrette and Rose Taylor – were starters last year and saw playing time in each game.
The seventh, Jordan Stone, suffered a season-ending injury in the first game, but returns to the fold in 2019.
"She hasn't lost a step," Ford said. "There was a lot added after her injury that she's had to reacquaint herself with, but it's been nice to have her back in there."
Healy and Souleyrette are this year's captains.
Healy, a two-time first team All-NCAC and second-team All-Region selection, set single-season program records last year in groundballs (72) and draw controls (99). She also moved into the top-five all-time in career draw controls (160) and groundballs (158).
Souleyrette, an anchor on defense with All-NCAC second teamer Myers, does not pop out on the stat sheet as a defender but makes her presence known in more ways than one.
"Her strength is her communication prowess," Ford said. "Because she does that well she's a big part of how our defense functions. She understands what we're doing and helps our unit a lot."
Emma Lawrence, a second-team All-NCAC selection last year, is the team's leading returning scorer after posting 48 points on 35 goals. Alexa Mellis is last year's All-NCAC Newcomer of the Year after posting a team-high 37 goals.
So, a plethora of top players return, and they'll be joined by a number of players who will look to make more of an impact after seeing plenty of playing time last season.
A group of players like Taylor, Sydney Schuster, Caitlyn O'Connor, Emma Hambright and Katie Shideler, will look to turn a successful field hockey season to success this spring in lacrosse. Shideler was 11-4 in the net last season, while Hambright is making the switch from goalkeeper to defender for 2019.
"[Shideler] is starting off where she ended last year, which is great so there's no backtracking," Ford said. "She has put things together and is playing really well. I'm hoping her game will only elevate as the season goes forward."
Another set of players like Lawrence and Miura Wiley are looking to turn a historic soccer season into another postseason run with lacrosse. Wiley scored seven goals as a freshman.
Elsewhere, Papp will aim to be another contributor in scoring again after a 42-point season that saw her tally 24 goals. Jenny Grossmann is one of two juniors, along with Hambright, and returns after finishing the season fifth on the team in points (31).
Sophomore Katie Harvey tallied 22 points and 19 goals last year but is returning from an injury herself. Classmate Ashley Boersma returns as well after putting up similar numbers to Harvey last year with 18 points and 13 goals
Denison is the favorite to take the conference again, but Ford believes the Scots should once again be a top four team.
"I think that we have the talent, the strength, IQ, speed … so, our expectations as a group have been to qualify and put ourselves in that position again," Ford said.
Wooster opens the year at Capital University on Feb. 23. Their first home game is March 7 when they take on Carthage College.