Preview: Women’s lacrosse kicks off 15th season

Ryan Giacobbi and Ryan Giacobbi

KENT, Oh. — The RMU women’s lacrosse team will be kicking off their 2019 regular season on the road this coming Saturday when they visit the Kent State University Golden Flash in what will be the commemoration of the 15th year of RMU women’s lacrosse program. Here is a look at expected contenders and dark horse candidates for women’s lacrosse in the Northeast Conference.

Expected contenders

1. Wagner – The Wagner College Seahawks finished first in the Northeast Conference last year with an overall record of 13-5 and a conference record of 6-1. Wagner is being placed first because the Seahawks have been holding their own in NEC play since the 2014 regular season.

This season is also the first for Wagner’s new head coach, Michelle Tumolo, so a storyline to watch will be how Wagner’s typically strong program adjusts to the coaching change.

2. Bryant – The Bulldogs contended with a 12-6 overall record and a 6-1 record in NEC play. With the 2019 season rolling around, Bryant added seven freshmen to their team’s roster. After competing in the 2018 NEC tournament, the 2019 women’s lacrosse team will be looking to pick up where they left off as they try to contend for another NEC tournament. This is going to leave Robert Morris scouting the team’s fresh new blood for the tournament.

3. Mount St. Mary’s – The Mountaineers are a team that has only recently had something successful to build off of, that being a successful 2018 season. Mount St. Mary’s went 10-7 overall with a 5-2 record in NEC play. MSM also added only five freshman to their 2019 squad, so most of the core roster from 2018 will be retained. RMU will be looking to see if MSM can continue their success knowing that they didn’t add that many new recruits to their 2019 class.

4. Robert Morris – RMU is on the edge of expected contenders because they did have a 5-2 overall record in NEC play last year, but they also had a 9-9 overall record for the 2018 season. The 2018 season was the first season under women’s lacrosse coach Katrina Silva. In the annual preseason coaches’ poll, RMU is projected to finish in fourth place in the Northeast Conference and make it to the NEC tournament.

The Colonials will be using senior Sophia Eureka and junior Melanie Gandy. Eureka posted 23 goals scored with nine assists, 32 points, 50 shots and 40 shots on goal for the Colonials in her junior campaign. Gandy posted 24 goals with 17 assists, 41 points, 53 shots and 42 shots on goal in her sophomore year. Katrina Silva will have Eureka and Gandy at her disposal in what should be a good year for women’s lacrosse.

Possible breakout players for Robert Morris

1. Meghan Crouse – Crouse had a strong year last season with 17 goals, five assists, 22 points, 42 shots and 29 shots-on-goal. Crouse’s season-high for most goals in a single game in 2018 was three goals against Duquesne University and Radford University. If she can maneuver her way around her opponent’s defense on a consistent basis, she could potentially be a huge breakout star in 2019.

2. Kelley Flynn – Flynn is a sophomore attacker who is about to endure her second season playing lacrosse for Robert Morris under second-year coach Katrina Silva. In her freshman campaign, Flynn scored 11 goals with seven assists to total to 18 points. Flynn has also had 26 shots with 18 shots-on-goal.

3. Mackenzie Gandy – Gandy is the twin sister of junior attack Melanie Gandy. Gandy was able to pick up 29 goals, 27 assists to make 56 points. Gandy also shot 63 times with 46 of them being on goal. With Mackenzie working alongside her sister Melanie, Mackenzie has the potential to grow into a 2019 breakout star for the RMU women’s lacrosse team.

4. Clio Kerr – Kerr was able to take a step up from her freshman campaign in 2017 in her sophomore season in 2018. In Kerr’s freshman year, she scored eight goals with four assists to total 12 points for the year with 18 shots and 16 shots on goal. Kerr had scored 17 goals with four assists to total 21 points with 59 shots and 43 shots on goal in 2018, which was her sophomore season. If she can take a third step forward into eventually growing into a team leader, she can have not only a potential breakout season, but also a successful season as a leader.