STANDISH, Maine – The 2018 Saint Joseph's College women's lacrosse season starts Saturday with a non-conference game versus Husson University at the SJC Athletics Complex at 1:00 PM.
STARTS AT THE TOP:
Head Coach Rupert Lewis is back for his sixth season at the helm after guiding the Monks to a 13-4 record, including an 8-1 mark in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play last season. The two-time GNAC Women's Lacrosse Coach of the Year (2015, 2016) honoree led the Monks to a GNAC Championship in 2015 and is the winningest (57-25) and most successful (.695) clipboard carrier in program history.
Coach Lewis has also skippered the Monks' field hockey program for the last 13 seasons and helped St. Joe's claim the 2016 and 2017 GNAC Championships. Also the field hockey team's all-time wins (156) and winning percentage (.642) leader, Lewis owns a 213-112 (.655) career coaching record across the two sports.
WHERE WE LEFT OFF:
As the #2 seed in the conference tournament, the Monks opened postseason play with a 17-6 quarterfinal victory over #7 Norwich University but the 2017 campaign came to a close with a hard-fought 11-10 loss at the hands of #6 Simmons College on May 5th. The Monks rallied from an early 4-0 deficit and held a 10-7 advantage with 12:55 left, but the Sharks rattled off four unanswered goals to claim the upset victory.
The Monks lost just one player to graduation from last year's squad and she will certainly be difficult to replace. Jackie Wilson '17, a four-year starter, helped lead the Royal Blue to a 58-17 (.773) overall record with an otherworldly 34-3 (.919) mark in GNAC play and registered 100 goals, 52 assists, 250 ground balls, 322 draw controls, and 111 caused turnovers during her outstanding career.
Senior midfielder Elyse Caiazzo (Scarborough, Maine/Cheverus) headlines the group of returning players and is on pace to break every significant record in team history during her final collegiate season. The 2017 GNAC Offensive Player of the Year tallied 67 goals and 13 assists for 80 total points with 56 ground balls, 55 draw controls, and 15 caused turnovers in 17 games last spring. Already the program's all-time points leader (251), Caiazzo - a two-year team captain - ranks second in team history in goals (204), fourth in draw controls (138), sixth in assists (47) and ground balls (184), and eighth in caused turnovers (62) over 55 career contests.
Juniors Kara and Kayla Kelly (York, Maine) return after posting impressive numbers during their respective sophomore seasons. Kara, a team captain this spring, netted 23 goals with 16 assists while Kayla tallied 21 goals, 17 assists, 35 ground balls, 21 draw controls, and 18 caused turnovers last season.
Senior defender Brianne Maloney (South Portland, Maine) claimed First Team All-GNAC honors after scooping up 33 ground balls and causing 29 turnovers and has been selected as a team captain.
Junior captain Brittany Arsenault (Westbrook, Maine), a speedy midfielder, figures to play an integral role in the Monks' success this season with implementation of the 90-second shot clock rule. As a defender last spring, Arsenault tallied three goals and three assists with 29 ground balls and six caused turnovers.
Sophomore keeper Kaylin Mansir (West Gardiner, Mass.) earned Third Team All-Conference honors after posting an 8.25 goals against average with a .478 save percentage while logging all 1,040 of the Monks' minutes in goal during her freshman season.
NEWCOMERS TO WATCH:
GAMES TO SEE:
March 3 vs. Husson University: The Monks' first-ever game on their new field, the SJC Athletics Complex, pits Saint Joseph's versus in-state rival Husson University, a team the Royal Blue edged by a 10-8 margin in Bangor last spring.
March 15 vs. Southern Maine: The annual matchup between the close rivals sees the Huskies make the 15-minute trek to Standish, where the teams will face off for the first time on the new turf under the lights. St. Joe's tipped USM, 11-10, in Gorham last season and is 3-7 all-time against the Huskies.
March 20 vs. Simmons College: The Monks look to avenge a GNAC tourney setback at the hands of the Sharks in what will surely be an important conference contest.
March 31 vs. Johnson & Wales University: Saint Joseph's hosts the reigning GNAC Champions and seeks retribution for a loss suffered to the Wildcats - a triumph that snapped the Monks' 23-game regular-season GNAC winning streak - in Providence last spring.