BABSON PARK, Mass.—Coming off a second consecutive conference tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance, expectations remain high for the Babson College women's lacrosse program entering the 2019 campaign.
LETS GET IT STARTED
Despite the loss of three of their top five scorers, the Beavers return 10 players that started at least 10 games last spring. Eighth-year head coach Michelle Smith welcomes back 20 players in all from a team that went 13-8 overall, 7-1 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.
NOW FOR THE ENCORE
Senior Lexi Lenaghan (Hanover, Mass.) produced historic scoring numbers in her first season at Babson, scoring 68 goals and adding 34 assists for 102 points in 19 games. Lenaghan, who transferred from Hofstra University, averaged a program record 5.37 points per game and became the first player in school history to surpass 100 points in a season on the way to earning first-team all-conference and all-region honors.
DEPTH ON DEFENSE
Just one season after having to replace four starters on defense, Babson brings back its entire starting unit in front of sophomore goalie Cricket Fligor (Weston, Mass.). Junior Maria Bravo (Windermere, Fla.) was tabbed as the NEWMAC Defensive Co-Player of the Year after leading the team with 47 ground balls and 24 caused turnovers, while senior Christine Regan (Osterville, Mass.) has started 52 of 55 games over the last three years. Juniors Sarah DeLucia (Guilford, Conn.) and Brooke Majewski (Soutbury, Conn.) combined for 33 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers, classmate Maren Mellen (Duxbury, Mass.) appeared in 10 games, and Fligor went 10-5 with a 10.59 goals against average and a .367 save percentage in 15 starts between the pipes.
VERSATILITIY IN THE MIDFIELD
The Green and White brings back seven key contributors from a versatile and dynamic group of midfielders. Senior Mairead Williams (Hingham, Mass.) stepped into a more defensive role last spring and finished with career-highs of 35 ground balls and 22 caused turnovers on the way to earning All-NEWMAC honors, while sophomore Isabelle Lent (Madison, Conn.) finished second on the team with 43 draw controls and also contributed 13 caused turnovers as a rookie. Junior Taylor Herrmann (Mahwah, N.J.) produced career-highs of 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points, sophomore Juliana McGuire (Sparta, N.J.) netted 25 goals, and classmate Sara O'Connor (Marshfield, Mass.) scored eight times to go along with 33 draw controls, 24 ground balls and 15 caused turnovers. Additionally, Olivia McCahan (Providence, R.I.) chipped in with four goals, four assists and 11 ground balls, while sophomore Sarah McCarthy (Hanover, Mass.) emerged late in the season and finished with eight goals and 22 draw controls.
OPPORTUNITIES TO ATTACK
Along with Lenaghan, the return of sophomore Georgia Salvatore (Westwood, Mass.) and Riley Buonagurio (Duxbury, Mass.) bolsters a Babson offense that averaged 13.52 goals, its highest total since 2012, last spring. Salvatore finished fourth on the team with 27 goals and 18 assists for 45 points, while Buonagurio (20-1-21) set new career highs in both goals and points. Juniors Olivia Remley (Ridgewood, N.J.), who scored eight times, and classmate Valerie Quinlan (Norwood, Mass.), who finished with two goals and two assists, provide experience and scoring ability.
DEFENDING CHAMPS FINISH ATOP PRESEASON POLL
Babson, which captured a share of last year's regular season league title in addition its conference tournament championship, collected six of nine first-place votes on the way to finishing first in the NEWMAC preseason coaches' poll.
In addition to its eight-game NEWMAC slate, the Beavers are set to face No. 5 Amherst, No. 10 Tufts and No. 12 Wesleyan. Additionally, Plymouth State and Endicott were picked first in the Little East and CCC polls, respectively, while Skidmore is coming off a third-place finish in the Liberty League.