Lafayette bids farewell to its senior class

Brya+Freeland+run%0Athe+offense+against+Louisville.+%5BPhoto+Courtesy+of+Athletic+Communications%5D

Brya Freeland run the offense against Louisville. [Photo Courtesy of Athletic Communications]

Brian O'Neill

For the seniors on the women’s basketball team, this season marked a final send off for what had been a steady growth in the success of the women’s program during their time at the college.

Seniors Maddie Peabody, Brya Freeland, Linnel Maclin and Emily Homan were the first recruiting class on scholarship that the women’s program ever had, and certainly made an impact that the program will hope to build on.

“They were our first recruiting class, so we went out and sought them to really help us elevate the program, change the culture, and really get us to, you know, be competitive in the Patriot League,” head coach Dianne Nolan said. “They’re graduating with the most wins a senior class has had in 20 years. So collectively each year they really helped our program get better and be more competitive in the Patriot League.”

Nolan lauded Homan in particular, who finished her career at Lafayette scoring over a thousand points (1420), finishing third all time in Lafayette’s history, as well as sixth all time in rebounds (762) and second all time in blocked shots (179).

“She was a rookie and then she made first team all Patriot League this year,” Nolan said. “She was a thousand point scorer, she was on the all-academic team for two years, so she certainly has re-written a lot of the record books during her career, so she’s someone obviously who was really a true student athlete.”

In 2011, when these seniors first arrived, the Leopards finished the season with only eight wins, and improved to eleven one season later, continuing on to finish with 16 wins in each of their last two seasons.

“Every day they came to practice with a competitive spirit,” said Nolan. “They had a thirst to get better, and they… certainly laid the groundwork for us to get better and to have an ethic to keep working hard and believe in the process and know that good things are going to happen.”

Nolan mentioned several memorable moments these seniors had over the years, but none more satisfying than a win in their final home game on Senior Day against rival school Lehigh.

“Our win against Lehigh on senior day really embodies the four young ladies,” Nolan said. “Obviously it’s a rival game, and it was our last home game, and beating them on senior day was very fitting for this group.”

Although the steady success of the program stands out above all else, for senior captain Maddie Peabody, the experience of participating in Lafayette’s basketball program was made enjoyable by her teammates.

“My favorite thing about playing at Lafayette would have to be my teammates,” Peabody said. “They are fun to be with on and off the court. Also, the student athlete, as a whole, is a really cool environment to be a part of. There is a mutual respect and understanding between them I think. Usually there is a nice support for each other as well.”

Peabody hopes to continue fostering a relationship with the game after graduation.

“Personally, my competitive playing days are probably over,” Peabody said. “I would love to coach though. Younger kids are fun and older as well, but who knows. I am excited to find new ways to still be involved in the game.”

In spite of a disappointing loss to American in the Patriot League Tournament to cap it off, rising senior Jamie O’Hare affirmed the outstanding leadership that the graduating class provided.

“The seniors tried their very best to get us motivated before and during the game,” O’Hare said. “They succeeded at that. However, I’m disappointed that we couldn’t give them that win. The seniors were very good to us this year and worked very hard. It’s a shame to see such talented players leave our program. They were upset with the loss, but they still showed how much they cared for our team after the game.”

Homan028_ATHLETICS
Emily Holmen run the offense against Louisville. [Photo Courtesy of Athletic Communications]