Army women’s lacrosse is back with a vengeance in 2019, ready to continue their rise in the Patriot League over the last several seasons and hopefully breakthrough into the Patriot League tournament.
Since moving up from club status to varsity at the Division One level in 2016, the Black Knights have seen steady improvement each and every year for the last three season. The 2016 squad finished 5-12 overall but did not win a single conference game, going 0-9 in Patriot League action. In 2017, it was more of the same, with a 5-12 record, but the team finally got a breakthrough when they were able to beat Colgate, on the road no less, to claim their first conference victory. 2018 saw a dramatic improvement as the team finished with a 10-7 record, their first time being above .500, and ended at 4-5 in the Patriot League. A couple of one goal losses to Holy Cross and Boston University kept them from crossing the .500 mark in conference play for the first time as well.
After just missing making the Patriot League tournament for the first time in school history, the 2019 team is sitting at #6 in the Patriot League Preseason poll, which if they are able to accomplish that during the season, would get them that inaugural berth. Let’s take a look at how these cadets are gonna stack up against Iona College when they begin their season next weekend in Michie Stadium.
Kristen Skiera’s squad is poised to continue their ascent behind sophomore attacker. Jackie Brattan. Last season, the then-freshman finished the season with a record 24 goals and 46 draw controls and played all 17 games. She was the only member of West Point selected to the 2019 Patriot League Women’s Lacrosse Preseason All-League team. The Black Knights will be counting on her to continue her growth in her second season and shoulder a lot of the load in trying to get the team to the postseason.
She won’t be alone, though, as junior midfielder Samantha Stewart who had 24 goals and 47 draw controls on her way to all-League honors last year will be back and senior midfielder Manuela Cortes will also return to help the offensive side. On the defensive side, senior defender Nia Crump and sophomore defender Lauren Bredenburg are back after starting every game last season.
Their first test of the season will be against Iona (8-10, 5-5 MAAC in 2018) The Gaels will be without their two leading scorers from a year ago as both Pamela Giordano and Jenna Tolzmann, who had a combined 63 goals last season, have finished up their careers at Iona. This is a team that improved significantly in MAAC play a year ago, but will be looking to replace a lot of goals in 2019.
Hopefully this is the year that Army finally finds their way into the Patriot League tournament. It would be a fitting end for the first group of seniors that have been around since the beginning of the switch to varsity to carry the program from being winless in conference play into the top 6 or higher on their way out the door!
The Black Knights season opener will take place at home at Michie Stadium at 1 pm on Sat, Feb. 9, 2019.