Hartford, Conn. - It was another impressive year for the Trinity College women's lacrosse team in 2017,as the Bantams returned to the NCAA Final Four for the sixth straight season. Trinity finished the season with a 17-5 overall record and an 8-2 mark in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) action. After ending the regular season in a tie atop the standings, Trinity entered the NESCAC Championship Tournament as the No. 3 seed where they fell to Colby, 13-9, in the conference championship game. The Bantams earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament where they rattled off three-straight wins before falling to eventual National Champion Gettysburg College, 8-4, in the semifinals. In the final polls of the season released by both the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) and Lacrosse Magazine, Trinity was ranked No. 4 in the country.
Trinity started the season on a three-game winning streak before dropping its first game of the year to No. 17 ranked Ithaca during the team's spring break trip to Nashville, Tennessee. The Bantams bounced back with an eight game winning streak which improved them to 11-1 on the year before falling in back-to-back contests versus Middlebury and Hamilton. After the loss to the Continentals, Trinity responded well with a 14-7 victory against Amherst College in the regular season finale in front of the home crowd at Robin Sheppard Field on Senior Day. The Bantams cruised to a 19-10 win against the Jumbos of Tufts University in the NESCAC Quarterfinals as senior tri-captain midfielder Karly Simpson (South Hadley, Mass.) and junior Kiley Coffey (West Newbury, Mass.) scored five times each to pace the offense.
In the conference semifinals against Hamilton, Coffey scored five goals once again and added an assist and four draw controls as Trinity thumped the Continentals, 12-3. Junior attacker Abby McInerney (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) contributed two goals and two assists, while senior attacker Emma Malicki (Loudonville,N.Y.) had three helpers. Junior Zoe Ferguson (Ridgewood, N.J.) picked up the win for the Bantams in goal with nine saves.
In the team's 13-9 setback to Colby in the NESCAC Championship game, Coffey continued her dominance offensively, scoring a game-high seven goals to go along with a team-high three draw controls. Coffey's seven goals tied a NESCAC Tournament record for most in a game while her 17 throughout the tournament set a new conference-best. Junior Clara Nowlan (Needham, Mass.) and first-year Sarah Montalbano (Huntington, N.Y.) each tallied a pair of caused turnovers defensively for Trinity as well.
Following a one-week layoff, the Bantams dusted Babson, 16-5, in the second round game played at Robin Sheppard Field on Trinity's campus. Trinity's defense held the Beavers to 12 shots and forced 14 turnovers, as the Bantams led wire to wire. McInerney led the offense with four scores while Simpson, Coffey and sophomore Mary French (Gloucester, Mass.) all turned in multiple goal efforts as well. Trinity moved on to the third round of the tournament where they beat Franklin & Marshall, 13-12, after a furious second-half comeback. Simpson led the way with four goals and two helpers in a game where the Bantams trailed, 8-4, just six minutes into the second half. Coffey added a hat trick and senior tri-captain attacker Clare Lyne (Concord, Mass.) scored twice and tallied two assists.
Trinity took a 9-0 lead against York College in the quarterfinals and never looked back in a 10-5 victory that sent them to the Final Four. Against the Spartans, Coffey and classmate Grace O'Donnell (Yarmouth, Maine) had three goals apiece, while junior Zoe Ferguson (Ridgewood, N.J.) had nine saves.
The team's season came to an end at the Final Four in Salem, Virginia where the team fell, 8-4, to eventual National Champion Gettysburg. The Bantams trailed the Bullets just 2-1 entering halftime but were outscored, 6-3, in the second half. Junior Allie Barrett (Concord, Mass.) led Trinity with a goal and two draw controls while senior defender Lara Guida (Mendham, N.J.) paced the Bantam back-line with three ground balls, but Gettysburg's stingy defense and strong goalie play held Trinity to its lowest scoring output all season. Senior defender Kathryn DeLillio (Wilmington, Del.) and Simpson were named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team.
Lyne and Coffey paced the Bantam offense all season as the pair combined for 132 points. Lyne finished second in the league with 73 points on 48 goals and 23 assists while Coffey's 58 goals were a NESCAC best. Lyne also finished with 51 draw controls (2nd on team) while Coffey chipped in 43 (3rd on team). McInerney followed up a breakout sophomore year with a stellar junior season. The Maine native finished with 50 points (3rd on team) on 37 goals and 13 assists and paced Trinity with 53 draw controls. Simpson and Barrett both finished with over 20 goals and 30 points as Simpson finished fourth on the team with 44 points (29g, 15a) and Barrett finished fifth with 32 points (24g, 8a). O'Donnell turned in a great year as well, scoring 19 goals and adding nine assists for 28 points this spring. French also had an impactful sophomore year, finishing as one of seven Bantams with double-digit goals (11).
Defensively, Nowlan led the team with 24 caused turnovers for a defense that held opponents to 7.33 goals per game. She was also second on the team with 30 ground balls and corralled three draw controls while starting 18 games. Guida capped off her career with a great senior season, leading the team with 33 ground balls. Guida also finished second on the team with 19 caused turnovers and had seven draw controls as well. Rookie Morgan Strabley (Summit, N.J.) and Montalbano both contributed in their first-years as the pair combined for 24 caused turnovers and 21 ground balls while DeLillio finished her career on a high note, tallying 11 caused turnovers and 22 ground balls this spring in 15 games.
Ferguson, in her third season as Trinity's starting goalie, was 17-4 in 1,269 minutes and made 163 saves with a NESCAC-best .514 save percentage and a 7.28 GAA. She also had 19 ground balls this spring while starting all 22 games between the pipes for the Bantams.
Lyne was named as the IWLCA National Division III Attacker of the Year and joined Nowlan and Ferguson on the IWLCA Division III All-American Teams. Lyne was an IWLCA All-American First Teamer, while Ferguson and Nowlan each graced the second team. The trio also joined Coffey on the IWLCA Division III All-Berkshire Region First Team and Simpson and McInerney graced the IWLCA All-Berkshire Region Second Team. Lyne, Nowlan and Ferguson were named to the NESCAC All-Conference First Team as well.
Trinity had a successful year in the classroom as Barrett, Coffey, French, Guida, Nowlan, O'Donnell, Simpson, seniors Clio Kammerer (Swampscott, Mass.) and Nicole Stauffer (Cheshire, Conn.), junior Georgia Mergner (West Caldwell, N.J.) and sophomores Emily Carothers (Kenilworth, Ill.), Caroline McKenna (Sandwich, Mass.) and Brooke Swan (Wellesley, Mass.) represented Trinity on the NESCAC All-Academic team. Stauffer also was named to the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship team as well.
Guida, Malicki, Kammerer, Simpson, DeLillio, Stauffer, Lyne, and classmates Katherine Foca (Chatham, N.J.) and tri-captain Meghan Collins (Marblehead, Mass.) ended their Trinity lacrosse careers in 2017. The nine were a part of teams that compiled a remarkable 70-11 record, won two NESCAC Championships and reached the NCAA National Championship three years in a row.