Under the direction of sixth-year head coach Miriam Esber, the Mount Holyoke lacrosse team had a banner year in 2013. Posting an overall record of 13-4, the Lyons advanced to the NEWMAC Championship semifinals and then went on to claim the 2013 ECAC New England Championship crown.
The Lyons got things started on a dramatic note, posting a 20-19 overtime victory against Skidmore in the season-opener. Following an 11-6 win over Westfield State, Mount Holyoke shouldered its first loss – a 15-14 defeat at Western New England – but bounced back with four consecutive victories. Among those wins was an 11-10 victory against Springfield to open the NEWMAC slate.
A tough loss at Wellesley the next week saw the Lyons rebound once more as they won three straight, including a 16-10 win over previously unbeaten Bridgewater State to move to 9-2 on the season. Mount Holyoke suffered a narrow 10-9 defeat at the hands of Wheaton, but closed out the regular season with wins over Smith and Babson to head into NEWMAC post-season play as the second-seed after a 4-2 conference mark.
The Lyons drew Springfield in the semifinal round and despite a 14-9 loss to the eventual conference champions, MHC's post-season hopes stayed alive as they awaited selections for the ECAC New England Championship.
Once again named the second-seed, Mount Holyoke headed to nearby Western New England to face-off against the University of Southern Maine in the semifinals. The Lyons cruised to a 16-6 win over the Huskies, whom they had also beaten during the regular season, to advance to the championship final.
Mount Holyoke went on to use solid defense over the closing seconds to claim a 17-16 win over Western New England and earn its first ECAC title in program history. Senior goaltender Liz Malenfant was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after recording 33 saves – 22 of which came during the title win over the Golden Bears.
It was a year of highlights from start to finish for the Lyons, who tied the all-time mark for wins in a season. Seven different players reached 20 or more points over 17 contests, led by first year midfielder Julia Bell's 85 points on 58 goals and 27 assists. Senior attack Molly Macdonald recorded 65 goals and nine assists for 74 points, while first year attack Catherine Ryan had 17 goals and a program-season record 47 assists for 64 points.
Malenfant – a three-time NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week selection – was a rock between in the pipes, going 13-3 with a 9.68 goals against average and a .508 save percentage. She stopped 159 shots over 954:30 minutes of action – starting all 17 contests as well for the Lyons.
Among the many accolades earned included five named to NEWMAC All-Conference Teams. Bell, who was also named the conference's Rookie of the Year, was placed on the First Team alongside Macdonald – a two-time NEWMAC Offensive Player of the Week – and Malenfant. Sophomore midfielder Kirsten Kilburn and senior defender Bene Webster were All-Conference Second Team selections, while Esber garnered NEWMAC Coach of the Year honors for the second time in her career.
Additionally, Bell, Macdonald and Malenfant were all named to the IWLCA All-Berkshire Region Second Team at season's end.
As a team, the Lyons led the NEWMAC in goals (238), assists (123), goals per game (14.00), shot percentage (51.0%), draw controls (245), saves (164) and save percentage (49.8%). Individually, Bell led the NEWMAC in points, while Macdonald had the most goals scored in the conference. Ryan posted the most assists in the league, while Kilburn was tops in draw controls (89). Malenfant led the NEWMAC in a number of categories, including wins, saves, save percentage and winning percentage (81.2%).
• Finished second in the NEWMAC standings
• Posted the best overall record among all NEWMAC teams at season's end (13-4)
• Tied school record for victories in a season (13)
• Defeated NEWMAC-rivals Springfield College, MIT, Smith College and Babson College
• Advanced to the NEWMAC Tournament Semifinals (second-seed)
• Won ECAC New England Championship - 1st in program history
• Liz Malenfant '13 – Named 2013 ECAC New England Championship Most Outstanding Player
• NEWMAC Rookie of the Year – Julia Bell '16
• NEWMAC Coach of the Year – Miriam Esber (also recognized in 2010)
• NEWMAC Offensive Player of the Week (3/11, 3/25) – Molly Macdonald '13
• NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week (3/11) – Kirsten Kilburn '15
• NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week (3/25, 4/8, 4/22) – Liz Malenfant '13
• ECAC New England Defensive Player of the Week (4/22) – Liz Malenfant '13
• NEWMAC Academic All-Conference – Laura Chapman '13
• IWLCA Division III Berkshire All-Region Second Team – Julia Bell '16, Molly Macdonald '13 & Liz Malenfant '13
• IWLCA Academic Squad (earned by 2011-12 team; awarded in Fall of 2012)