The Mount Holyoke lacrosse team saw milestones and records aplenty in 2016. Led by ninth-year head coach Miriam Esber, the team shouldered a tough year overall, finishing 3-11 with a 2-6 mark in NEWMAC play.
MHC suffered a pair of tough losses to open the season, falling to Bridgewater State and Westfield State at the start of March. The Lyons rebounded during their spring trip to Florida with an 11-10 overtime win against Fitchburg State as senior captain and attack Catherine Ryan became the program's all-time leader in assists. She had needed just three helpers before the contest, getting four overall against the Falcons to surpass Caitlin Taylor '06 as the all-time leader.
A tough stretch of games followed for Mount Holyoke, including four straight conference defeats, before the Lyons rebounded with a 17-3 victory against Coast Guard. That game saw senior midfielder and captain Julia Bell record five goals, while Ryan bested her own record for assists in a game, notching eight against the Bears.
The Lyons saw another major milestone recorded in their next game as Bell recorded a pair of tallies in a tough loss at MIT, becoming just the second player in program history to record 200 career goals. MHC faced tough competition over the next two games, shouldering losses to nationally-ranked Amherst and Wellesley.
Mount Holyoke concluded the season with a victory against its long-time rival Smith, besting the Pioneers by a 12-10 margin in Northampton. Bell paced the effort, scoring five goals, while Ryan had two goals and three assists. Sophomore midfielder Leila Kouakou also made a strong impact with three goals and two assists.
The Lyons had a number of outstanding efforts on the season, paced by Bell, who finished first on the squad with 49 goals and nine assists for 58 points. She also added a team-best 34 ground balls, 30 draw controls and a team-high 24 caused turnovers. She finished the regular season as the NEWMAC's top goal scorer, while also ranking third in points. For her career, Bell posted 213 goals and 74 assists for 287 points, finishing as the second ranked player in program history for goals and points. She's also third in all-time assists.
Ryan, who recorded nine goals and a squad-high 40 assists for 49 points, finished the regular season as the NEWMAC leader in helpers. She also had 17 ground balls, two draw controls and two caused turnovers. Ryan's legacy as the greatest assister in program history has been firmly cemented as she concluded her Mount Holyoke career with 72 goals and a program record 155 assists for 227. She's also the program leader for assists in a season (47) and helpers in a game (8).
Junior attack Charlotte Wagner rounded out the top three offensively for the Lyons, concluding the season with 26 goals and five assists for 31 points. Sophomore defender Julia Lankin paced the way in draw controls, leading the squad with 36 total, while also adding 30 ground balls. Classmate and fellow defender/midfielder Kaitlin Braz also had outstanding number, tying with Bell for the team-lead in ground balls with 34, while also finishing second with 22 caused turnovers.
At season's end, Bell was named to the NEWMAC All-Conference Second Team. It marked her fourth straight year-end honor, including two First Team selections.
• Finished seventh in the NEWMAC standings
• Defeated NEWMAC-rivals Coast Guard Academy and Smith College
• One named NEWMAC All-Conference Second Team – Julia Bell '16
• Four named NEWMAC Academic All-Conference – Kaitlin Braz '18 & Julia Lankin '18