The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Club lacrosse domination: Men’s, women’s teams both ranked in top 25

The club lacrosse teams have overcome obstacles to rank nationally. (Photos courtesy of @NCLL on Instagram and Don Ferrell)

Both of Lafayette’s club lacrosse teams have had tremendous success in 2023. At its peak, the women’s team has been ranked second in the nation after starting 7-1-1. The men’s team is now ranked 17th after upsetting the nationally-ranked Villanova Wildcats this past Sunday.

The success of the women’s team may seem unlikely at first glance, as the team struggled to put together a roster last year.

“In the fall, we were playing pick-up games but there were not enough girls. The girls said to me, ‘Can we play in a league and make this more competitive?'” junior captain Alyssa Giannasca recalled.

The team then started an Instagram account to try and spread the word. It advertised practice times and equipment requirements while posting “player bios” to highlight the members. Soon, the club had a full squad.

“We wouldn’t really have a team without them,” sophomore Ella Dalgliesh said of the new members. “They’re a really talented bunch. So that, I think, is a big part of our success.”

Freshman Selma O’Malley was one of the players that joined this semester.

“It’s been going fantastic so far,” O’Malley said. “At the beginning of the year, there was a lot of talk about, like, the road to Texas … [That’s] where the national tournament is going to be. But now we are actually in the running to go to Texas.”

Having only joined a conference for the first time this spring, the women’s club team has been dominating. It went undefeated in league play, earning the number one overall seed and the right to host the regional tournament. The team started the season 5-0 with conference wins over the University of New Hampshire and The College of New Jersey, in addition to out-of-conference victories over New York University and Boston University. Its only loss came off a fluke to Fordham.

“I think what makes our team so special is that it is not a one-man team. Every single person on our team contributes to every single win,” Giannasca said. “It’s every single player out there. Our goalie, our defense, our midfield, our attack, every single girl out there plays a role. We know we can count on everyone to step up, every single girl is just as important as the next.”

The winner of the Leopards’ league will be one of 12 teams that will compete in the national championship that will be held in Texas later this school year. As the number two team in the nation and first in its conference, the Lafayette team has high hopes to possibly make it to the national championship for the first time in school history.

The men’s team has had success of its own despite rebounding from the graduation of several key contributors from last year’s squad and starting the season with a loss to the University of Pennsylvania.

“Since last year the program has seen some pretty major shifts. We picked up Coach Langen and Coach Miccio who have been crucial in providing structure for our practices,” senior captain Harry Ricker said.

The team traveled to Villanova to play two games this past Sunday, the first against the sixth-ranked Wildcats and the second against St. Joe’s.

“Going into the game, we weren’t too sure how it was going to play out … We played them last year and they gave us a run for our money,” Ricker said. “After I saw the level of play we brought in practice, I knew we could hang with them. In the first half, we put a couple in net and had some huge hits that really got the sideline fired up. Once we had the momentum, we didn’t let off the gas.”

The Leopards cruised to a 9-5 victory, winning the vast majority of face-offs and dominating on the defensive line. Following its victory over the Wildcats, the team knocked off St. Joe’s, improving its record to 2-1 and putting it in the driver’s seat to make the National College Lacrosse League (NCLL) playoffs for the first time in program history. The team now controls its own destiny, as it must beat either Rutgers, who lost to Villanova, or rival Lehigh, who the team knocked off in the fall, to reach the playoffs.

“I think the level of play has certainly increased and people are having a great time taking it more seriously,” Ricker said. “I think this win was huge for the program. I think knocking off a team of that seed really gave the guys the motivation to try and win the championship and long term, our plan is to win the NCLL title.”

This victory also moves them into the NCLL division rankings for the first time since the beginning of last season. It marks the first time in Lafayette history that both the men’s and women’s club lacrosse team has been ranked at the same time.

Emma Chen ’24 and Trebor Maitin ’24 contributed reporting.

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Charlie Berman
Charlie Berman, Sports Editor

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