Under the leadership of eighth-year head coach Miriam Esber, the Mount Holyoke lacrosse team battled its way back into the NEWMAC Tournament for the 20th time in the last 22 years. The Lyons finished with a 6-10 overall record, going 3-5 in NEWMAC play.
MHC shouldered a tough loss to Skidmore to open the 2015 campaign, but rebounded with victories over Westfield State (15-8) and Bridgewater State (13-11) at home. Junior attack Julia Bell paced the Lyons offensive effort in the two contests, scoring a combined eight goals with an assist. MHC headed to Springfield for its final contest before spring break, suffering a 15-14 overtime loss at Western New England.
In Florida, MHC took on a pair of tough opponents, facing off first against then third-ranked Bowdoin to open the action. The Lyons were led by a hat trick from Bell in the 15-6 loss, but rebounded two days later for a 16-5 win against Concordia (Wisc.). In that game, Bell had five tallies and a helper, while senior captain and midfielder Kirsten Kilburn chipped in with four goals and an assist.
Upon return to Western Massachusetts, the Lyons grabbed a 9-6 victory over Emerson in their NEWMAC opener, aided by a five goal effort from junior captain and attacker Catherine Ryan. Despite the momentum of the two-game winning streak, MHC suffered a three-game stumble, falling to Babson, Wheaton and Springfield in conference play.
Mount Holyoke rebounded with a 12-2 victory over the Coast Guard Academy, which saw Bell post five goals, while Kilburn added three tallies and an assist. The Lyons shouldered another three game stretch of losses, but closed out the regular season in fine fashion with a 16-5 win over Smith. In that contest, Kilburn had five goals, Ryan added five assists, while sophomore attack Katherine Guinee chipped in with four tallies.
The victory also helped secure the sixth-seed in the NEWMAC Tournament for the Lyons. It was the third straight appearance for MHC and the 20th in the last 22 years. Mount Holyoke faced third-seeded Wellesley in the quarterfinals and goals from Kilburn, Ryan and sophomore attack Charlotte Wagner helped the team to a 5-5 draw at halftime. The Blue went on a 5-0 run to pull away for the 11-8 victory..
MHC had a number of outstanding efforts on the season, paced by Ryan, who finished first on the squad with 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points. She ranked second in the NEWMAC in assists and was also eighth in the conference in points.
Kilburn, who posted a team-best 48 goals and seven assists for 55 points, finished as the NEWMAC leader in draw controls (78) and caused turnovers (36). She was fifth among the conference-best in goals, 11th in points and third in ground balls (57).
At season's end, Kilburn was named to the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team for the second straight season and the third time in her career and the fourth overall. Bell was tabbed to the All-Conference Second Team, garnering her third straight career honor.
Program milestones were reached once again this season as Bell became the fourth player in program history to reach the 200 career points mark. Kilburn followed soon after, becoming the fifth player to reach the milestone, while Ryan became just the second player in team history to notch 100 career assists. Kilburn also continued to add to her record holding mark in draw controls, finishing her career with 349. She also moved to second (196), while Bell slid to fourth all-time (164). Ryan also moved to second all-time in assists (115), needing just eight assists to tie the all-time record.
• Finished sixth in the NEWMAC standings
• Defeated NEWMAC-rivals Emerson College, Coast Guard Academy and Smith College
• Played in the NEWMAC Tournament Quarterfinals (sixth-seed)
• One named NEWMAC All-Conference First Team –Kirsten Kilburn '15
• One named NEWMAC All-Conference Second Team – Julia Bell '16