Simmons College Lacrosse wrapped up the 2011 season this month after the Sharks earned their first-ever post-season bid to the ECAC tournament. Despite facing elimination after the semifinal round, the team's performance capped a strong spring in which Simmons went 5-3 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. In the preseason coaches' poll, Simmons was ranked 6th in the GNAC, and finished the regular season in 4th place with a record of 7-4. The 2011 season was the strongest for the team in just its third year as a varsity program, marking the first time Simmons Lacrosse qualified for the GNAC Tournament, as well as ECACs.
First year Head Coach Amanda Maxwell is very pleased with the strides the Sharks have taken in just one season, and is already looking ahead to 2012. "Next year, our goal will be to avoid a mid-season lull. We need to keep the intensity, drive and determination throughout the entire season. I want to turn our four losses into four wins."
Freshmen starters Leanne Luke (Newton, Mass.), Seneca Martensson (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and Taylor Nisbet (Dartmouth, Mass.) had an enormous impact on the team this season, said Maxwell. "They rarely came off the field because they were such impact players." On the attack, Nisbet was ranked second on the team in goals scored (26) and in assists (7), while Luke led from the midfield, scoring 11 goals. Martensson stood out as a defensive leader.
Freshman Rachel Wallace (Braintree, Mass.) led the Sharks on attack with 31 goals before being sidelined with an injury. Sophomore keeper Kelly Last (West Haven, Conn.) was vital part of team's success, making 149 saves with a .512 save percentage. Midfielders Meaghan Maurice (Portland, Maine), Lee Sutherland (Tuftonboro, N.H.) and Meg Coffey (Wilmot, N.H.) also played a large role on the team this season, combining for 41 goals and 20 assists.
Maxwell credits tri-captains Jen Szkolt (Bondsville, Mass.), Maurice and Sutherland with helping to lead the team toward success. "From day one, the captains demanded the best of their teammates and really set the tone for a season of great achievements," said Maxwell.
"This season was filled with so many proud moments. We really grew as team and improved each and every game. The athletes really showed a desire and intense determination to be the best they can be. As a coach there is nothing more I can ask for! I can't wait until next season to pick back up right where we left off."