Led by 11th-year head coach Miriam Esber, the Mount Holyoke College lacrosse team played a tough schedule in 2018. Several major career milestones from its senior class paced the Lyons, who were 3-13 overall.
The Lyons opened up the 2018 campaign with a dominant 16-8 victory at home over Gordon College. Junior forward Deyscha Smith shined, leading all players with five goals. She also added an assist with three ground balls. Mount Holyoke suffered a pair of defeats, including a 9-7 loss at Bridgewater State soon after, but were led by Smith, senior midfielder Kaitlin Braz and first year attack Meryl Phair, who each recorded a goal and an assist.
The Lyons returned home for more non-conference action as they fell to Westfield State, despite Braz's game-highs of six ground balls and three caused turnovers. The season moved along to the conference home opener, where the Lyons fell to Wheaton. Despite the loss, senior captain Leila Kouakou recorded three goals with a ground ball and three draw controls, while Braz added two goals and three ground balls along with a game-high two caused turnovers.
Mount Holyoke opened April with a come-from-behind victory over non-conference opponent Salve Regina. Kouakou led the game with five goals and won a game-best six draw controls. In net, sophomore Mia Wysocki earned the win with seven saves.
MHC returned home the following week to hold off Emerson College, 9-8. The back-and-fourth matchup featured Kouakou with three goals to go along with a game-high seven draw controls and a pair of assists.
The Lyons ended the season on a tough run but had many accomplishments, including Braz, who recorded 200 ground balls in her career. Additionally, Kouakou, eclipsed the 100-point mark, becoming the 15th player to do so in MHC history.
Kouakou led the team overall with 34 total points on 24 goals and 10 assists. She also led the squad in draw controls with 45, while ranking top-five in caused turnovers with 16. Braz led both the team and the NEWMAC in ground balls with 67, and was third overall in the conference with 40 caused turnovers. Smith had her strongest year of her career thus far, finishing second on the team in points with 31 on 25 goals and six assists. In net, Wysocki led the team with 123 saves in 785:17 minutes of action.
MHC also saw six student-athletes earn NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honors, including Braz, sophomores Kelly Hammond, Julianna Rankin, and Eva Schneiderman, junior Hayley Subocz and senior Julia Lankin.
• Finished eighth in the NEWMAC Standings
• Kaitlin Braz '18 scooped up 200 ground balls in her career
• Leila Kouakou '18 reached 100 points in her career
• Six were named to the Academic All-Conference Team
• Julia Lankin '18 was named to the NEWMAC All-Sportsmanship Team