Hartford, Conn. - 2018 marked another successful season for the Trinity College women's lacrosse team, as the Bantams returned to the NCAA Elite Eight for the seventh straight season. Trinity finished the season with a 13-7 overall record and a 6-4 mark in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) action. Trinity entered the NESCAC Championship Tournament as the No. 5 seed after finishing tied for fourth in the conference. The Bantams defeated No. 4-seed Tufts, 12-10, in their first NESCAC Quarterfinals road game since 2003, before falling in the semifinals to Middlebury, 16-13. Trinity earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament where they defeated Springfield, 16-4, and Rhodes College, 20-11, before ultimately ending their season with a 9-8 loss at Salisbury in the quarterfinals. In the final poll of the season released by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA), Trinity was ranked No. 8 in the country.
Trinity opened the spring on a three-game winning streak before dropping its first game of the year on the road at No. 9 ranked York during the team's spring break trip to the Mid-Atlantic. The Bantams bounced back with a 13-2 drubbing of Bates before being tripped up by the Jumbos, 12-9, but finished the month with three-straight wins to enter the month of April with a 7-2 record. The Bantams went 3-3 in April of the regular season to finish with a 10-5 mark leading up to the NESCAC Quarterfinals battle against Tufts.
Against the Jumbos, senior tri-captain Allie Barrett (Concord, Mass.) led the way with three goals and two assists for the Bantams. Fellow senior Kiley Coffey (West Newbury, Mass.) contributed three goals and one assist, while senior Grace O'Donnell (Yarmouth, Maine) and rookie Kendall Milligan (Needham, Mass.) each had two goals as well. Senior Jennifer Cook (Manhasset, N.Y.) scored one and assisted twice and first-year Sophie Berger (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) scored one goal while, sophomore Sarah Montalbano (Huntington, N.Y.) caused a game-high three turnovers on defense. Senior tri-captain Zoe Ferguson (Ridgewood, N.J.) had a big day with 13 saves in net to help propel the Bantams into the semifinals for the ninth consecutive season.
In the conference semifinals against Middlebury, Trinity took a one goal lead into the half, but fell down the stretch to the No. 1-seed Panthers. Coffey led all players with five goals and added five draw controls, while Barrett scored twice and dished out three assists. Junior defender Jen Durocher (Longmeadow, Mass.) led the Bantams with four ground balls and two caused turnovers, while Ferguson continued to shine as she finished with a season-high 18 saves.
Following a one-week layoff, the Bantams handled Springfield, 16-4, in the second round game played at Jessee/Miller Field on Trinity's campus. Trinity's defense held the Pride to just 14 shots and forced 22 turnovers, as the Bantams led wire to wire. McInerney notched a game-high four goals and two assists while Barrett, Berger, Coffey and O'Donnell each turned in multiple goal efforts as well.
The win sent Trinity to the third round of the tournament where they beat Rhodes College, 20-11. After falling behind, 3-2, the Bantams finished the first half on an 11-2 and never looked back. O'Donnell and Coffey both led Trinity with five goals apiece while Berger finished with a hat trick and junior Mary French (Gloucester, Mass.) had two goals as well. Trinity dominated off the draw, winning 26 to Rhodes' seven, led by McInerney who had a game-high 11, and junior Caroline McKenna (Sandwich, Mass.) who had six. French, senior tri-captain Clara Nowlan (Needham, Mass.) and Durocher led the Bantam defense with two caused turnovers each.
The team's season came to an end at the hands of regional host Salisbury University in the Elite Eight. The Bantams trailed the Sea Gulls, 5-0, in the first half, but rallied back late to tie things at 8-8 before ultimately falling, 9-8, in the game's final minute. Barrett scored four times for Trinity while McInerney and Montalbano both came away with five draw controls. Ferguson capped off her career with a heroic effort between the pipes, finishing with 13 saves, many of which came down the stretch to keep the Bantams in the game.
Coffey led Trinity and the NESCAC in goals and scoring with 71 goals (3.56 per game, 25th in nation) and five assists for 76 points in 20 games. She also finished with team-highs of 125 shots, 19 free-position goals, and a .704 free-position percentage (13th in nation) to go with 40 draw controls (3rd on team). Barrett tallied a team-high 49 draw controls and added 55 points on 41 goals and 14 assists, 29 ground balls, and 16 caused turnovers in 20 games this spring as well. Berger made an immediate impact as a rookie, finishing the spring with 45 points on 28 goals and 17 assists, while O'Donnell tallied 32 goals while Cook and McInerney also tallied double-digit goals in their final seasons in a Bantam uniform.
Nowlan anchored the Bantam defensive unit, leading the team with 42 ground balls to go with 22 caused turnovers while playing in every game this spring. Montalbano led the team in caused turnovers with 23 and finished with 27 ground balls and 33 draw controls in in her second season as a back-line starter. Strabley added to Trinity's defense with 21 caused turnovers and 26 ground balls while Durocher finished the spring with 16 caused turnovers and 25 ground balls.
Ferguson capped off a record setting career by being named the 2018 IWLCA Division III National Goaltender of the Year, as well as to the IWLCA Division III All-American First Team, the Division All-Berkshire Region First Team and the All-NESCAC First Team. Ferguson, a two-time All-All-American First Teamer, owned the best save percentage in the conference at .532 (16th in nation) and posted an 8.59 goals against average with 189 saves (17th in nation) in 20 games and 1.158 minutes in goal.
The Bantams celebrated numerous post-season accolades, led by Ferguson and Coffey who were both named as 2018 IWLCA Division III First Team All-Americans and to the NESCAC All-Conference First Team, while Barrett graced the IWLCA Division III All-American Second Team and the All-NESCAC Second Team this spring. The trio also joined Nowlan on the IWLCA Division III All-Berkshire Region First Team, while Montalbano graced the IWLCA All-Regional Second Team.
Trinity had a successful year off the field as well, as Barrett, French, Nowlan, O'Donnell, Montalbano, senior Georgia Mergner (West Caldwell, N.J.) and juniors Emily Carothers (Kenilworth, Ill.), Caroline McKenna (Sandwich, Mass.) and Brooke Swan (Wellesley, Mass.) and sophomores Kristina Cartwright (Braintree, Mass.), Lauren Taylor (Madison, N.J.), Caroline Toomey (Wrentham, Mass.) and Ashley Turnbull (Ridgewood, N.J.) represented Trinity on the NESCAC All-Academic team. O'Donnell also was named to the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship team.
Mergner, Cook, Coffey, O'Donnell, Barrett, McInerney, Nowlan, Ferguson and Caroline Cranley (Summit, N.J.) concluded their Trinity lacrosse careers in 2018. The nine were a part of teams that won 70 games, won a NESCAC Championship and reached the NCAA National Championship two years in a row.