NEWTON, Mass. – As they prepare to begin their 2017 season, the Mount Ida College women's lacrosse team have been selected as the #8 seed in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) postseason poll, voted on by coaches from across the conference.
The Mustangs are looking to make their third straight GNAC tournament appearance under fifth year head coach Nicole Poli.
While they are still looking for their first playoff win since 2011, Mount Ida has been to the GNAC tournament in six of their seven seasons, and four of the last five under Poli.
Returning to the squad will be the 2016 GNAC and Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Rookie of the Year, Alyssa Kelly (Lee, Mass.). Kelly, who totaled 56 goals (4th in GNAC) and 23 assists (7th in GNAC), good for 79 points (6th in GNAC) also led the team in helpers as well as ground balls (59) and draw controls (62) to go along with 28 caused turnovers, also a team high. Of Kelly's 56 goals, eighteen of them were of the free position variety while she accounted for 157 of the team's 444 shots on the season, good for a 72.0% shots on goal percentage.
The senior class, made up of captains Rebecca Beaulieu (Weare, N.H.), returning this year from an injury that kept her out all of 2016 and Nicole Pavao (Peabody, Mass.), and attack Nikki Kinneen (Salem, N.H.) hope that their veteran experience will result in an extended playoff push this year.
Pavao scored 35 goals a year ago and Kineen added 8 goals and 12 assists for 20 points.
On the defensive front, Mount Ida will look to a young but talented freshman class, including Jenessa Corbett (Westbrook, Maine), Jamie Overoye (Lowell, Mass.), and Meghan Sargent (Brattleboro, Vt.), to pair with Beaulieu and junior Molly Thompson (Canterbury, Conn.).
Junior attack Hayley Napier (Fairhaven, Mass.) looks to build on a sophomore season that saw her score 20 goals, and junior Emily McConnell (Lowell, Mass.) had 10 goals, 27 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers from the midfield a year ago.
The netminders this year, freshman Jessica Henry (Wilbraham, Mass.) and junior Eleanor Garvey (Elkridge, Md.) are both new to the Mustang squad this season, though both featured on Mount Ida's very successful field hockey team in the fall of 2016.
The Mustangs open their season this Saturday afternoon when they play host to first year-program Newbury. Their home opener is on March 1st at 6:00 pm against Wentworth before the squad heads to Florida.
GNAC play opens at home on March 25th against Saint Joseph (CT), with other home conference games to include Saint Joseph's (ME) on April 12th, Albertus Magnus on April 15th, and Johnson & Wales on April 26th.