Proving that a transitional year does not always make for a down year, the women’s lacrosse team, under interim rookie head coach Brianne Timony ’13, finished the 2015-16 campaign with 10 wins, their most in program history, and were a near perfect (8-1) in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) play.
“When this program first started, they were looking for walk-ons. We were this little school with big heart and hustle and just definitely a lot we were trying to prove,” says Timony. “So being able to go 8-0 in conference before our final game against Philly U was exciting. Exciting for myself, my staff, my team and the school.”
While success and historical performances ended up writing the narrative of the season, things actually got off to a rocky start for Timony’s squad as they lost five of their first six games and didn’t quite look like the playoff-bound team that finished the year by winning eight of their last 10.
“As a first-time head coach you would love nothing more than to go into the season and set expectations that the ladies would like to hear, that the school would like to hear, but that wasn’t my style,” says Timony, who set her preseason goal to build a strong foundation for this year and for the future.
This mentality of taking things one game, one day at a time and playing each game as if it were the season opener thus giving the team a blank slate, helped the team fight back from the losses and come together as a strong unit to begin dominating their schedule of conference play as well as complete a program-best winning streak of eight in a row.
During this span of eight victories, the team outscored opponents by 141 to 53 and won five games by at least 10 goals, including one shutout against CACC rival, Felician University.
“I think the reasons for our accomplishments this season were because we changed things up and fixed the things that needed to be fixed,” says Timony. “I believe that hard work pays off and that’s what the ladies did. It was about focusing on the things we needed to at the right time and emphasizing our game and making it the best that it could be.”
This way of thinking will surely serve the Griffins in the playoffs as they prepare to take on the same level of competition that they finished 8-1 against during the regular season. However, according to Timony, beating a team in the regular season and beating them in the playoffs is something else entirely.
“No matter who we beat or how many times we beat them, we have to go into the postseason knowing that we need to play 150 percent, play up and play smart,” she says. “Having the victories and knowing we’ve beaten most of the teams we could possibly face is great as a confidence builder, but we still have to take it step-by-step and fight a strong fight.”
While the success of the team was something Timony had been hoping for, it really was and continues to be, just icing on the cake for the former team captain, MVP, and member of the 100-goal club.
“I can’t even explain how passionate I am about this program. It was my life in college and it’s even more so now,” Timony says. “I was honored to be a player here, excited for the opportunity to be an assistant and now, I am beyond proud to call myself the head coach.”
The Griffins will be the second seed in the CACC Championship tournament which pits the top six teams of the conference head-to-head in single elimination play. If the brackets hold to form, it could be another match-up with Philly U (which gave Chestnut Hill its only conference loss by a 10-9 score in late April) that awaits.
But this time around, Timony believes the outcome could very well be different.
“We believe in each other on and off the field. We stick together and we work together. As long as we continue to do that and continue to focus on our game and being the best team we can be, there is no reason we can’t be the ones to break through the barrier and win the College’s first ever DII championship.”
— Marilee Gallagher ’14
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