March 2, 2017
The Continentals women’s lacrosse team is looking to continue their impressive streak of extended success. In eight of the last 11 seasons, the team has won 10 or more games. Last season they finished with a record of 10 wins and six losses. Unfortunately, they lost their matchup in NESCAC championship quarterfinals with Amherst 15-5. The women were ranked 19th in the last Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Division III Top 20 poll of 2016.
Hamilton returns seven starters from last-year’s group, notably Morgan Fletcher ’17. Fletcher earned All-American honors by scoring a whopping 33 goals and totaling 45 points in the sixteen game season. The Coaches Association has taken note of the experience this team has gained and ranked the team 14th in the preseason poll.
The Continentals will play against some very serious competition. They are one of seven NESCAC teams ranked in the top 20. More than half, eight of 15, of the opponents that Hamilton will play this season are ranked in the preseason poll. Head Coach Patty Kloidt believes this team is ready for the challenge. When asked about potential goals for the upcoming season she was very clear: “our goals for the season are to play for a NESCAC championship and earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.” The team certainly has the talent to do so.
Five of the seven players that totaled double-digit points last season are back this year. Fletcher led the team with 45 points and was deadly accurate with 91.7 percent of her shots landing on goal. Darby Philbrick ’18 had a very impressive sophomore campaign with 30 points: she led the team with 63 shots. Kara Pooley ’19 started 11 games in her freshman season and was second on the team winning 28 ground balls. Jackie Cuddy ’18 started all but one of the games in the midfield.
Hamilton has been focusing on strengthening its defense and is relying on fresh faces to bolster this group. Maddie Fitzpatrick ’18 is the only returning starter on defense. All four defenders started in all 26 games last season and three graduated. The team does have a lot of experience in goal. Hannah Burrall ’19 started 11 games and Hannah Rubin ’17 started five. Burrall won six of her starts and had a 46.9 save percentage. On average she allowed 7.74 goals against average, and Rubin was not far behind, yielding 7.77 goals on average.
The team has been practicing very hard to make sure that they are ready for the season. Coach Kloidt knows how important it is to begin the season on a good note. She said that one of the keys to accomplish their goal of playing for a NESCAC championship is to “develop leadership on the field who understand the game situation and can communicate the game plan effectively.” The team will rely on the returning players to help the young defense learn to communicate and work together. Coach Kloidt is aware that the season is a marathon and the team will grow a lot through their tough schedule. She said another crucial point for the team is to “stay in the moment, respect the process and work hard to develop our players as we build ourselves into a top level team.”
This Saturday Hamilton have their first game, and it will be a tough one. They will compete against 18th ranked Colby in a NESCAC matchup. Next Wednesday, March 8, they will host William Smith College at 4:00 p.m. on Withiam Field in their home opener. That is their only home game before break. This is going to be a very exciting season for Hamilton women’s lacrosse. They are starting the season at 14th in the polls but hope to finish much higher. In order to accomplish their goals, they must, as Coach Kloidt stressed, “respect each opponent and approach the season one game at a time.”