Binghamton women’s lacrosse head coach, Stephanie Allen, sounded like Philadelphia 76ers rookie phenomenon Joel Embiid as she urged a crowded media room to trust in the process during the preseason press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“We go in expecting to compete and win, and have a stronger record than the year’s past,” Allen said. “For us, it’s about doing it the right way and trusting in the process, knowing that we’re closing the gap in certain games is a program and is based on the culture.”
Entering her fifth campaign as head coach, Allen has aimed to create a winning culture for a program that is coming off its best season to date. Despite finishing 6-11, Allen is confident that being prepared, disciplined and focused will be paramount for this squad.
“For those of you who got to come out and watch a little bit of practice today, I think you can probably say that you saw something different energy-wise, attitude-wise, intensity-wise and [last but certainly not least,] competitive wise,” Allen said. “Our program is deeper than it’s ever been before, and I think we got the experience that we have been waiting on for a couple years now.”
A deep and experienced squad will definitely be needed in order to thrive in BU’s rigorous upcoming season. The Bearcats will go head-to-head against multiple notable nonconference programs including Colgate, Dartmouth and Ohio State. Three future Bearcat opponents — Syracuse (No. 4), Stony Brook (No. 7) and Cornell (No. 13) — finished among the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association top-20, with Albany and Ohio State also receiving votes.
“Our goal is to amp up our nonconference schedule as much as possible,” Allen said. “For us, it’s really important, that we’re going out there and playing the same level of competition that we’re going to see in conference.”
Hoping to improve upon what was an already noteworthy year, former leading scorer and current team captain, senior midfielder Callon Williams, also believes that there is an entirely new mentality all around on both sides of the field.
“People are putting in extra work outside of the practice time and conditioning, so that’s the main difference,” Williams said. “People are really bought in to what coaches are doing and also what we want to accomplish as a team.”
In terms of returning members, all but one attacker from last year’s lineup will be suiting up for the Bearcats. Williams, who set the program’s single-season record for free position goals (17) and free position goals per game (1.00), will be joined by redshirt junior attacker Brianne Arthur, who set a BU record for goals scored by a freshman (34).
At midfield, senior Valerie DeNapoli and sophomore Rebecca Golderman hope to continue their successes from last season. Golderman was the first Bearcat in program history to be selected as the America East Rookie of the Year, racking up 27 goals and 30 points over 15 games in 2016. DeNapoli, who will be starting for the third consecutive year, recorded 36 total ground balls, forced 15 turnovers and secured 20 draw controls last season.
With no major loss, aside from Allie Rodgers, due to graduation, both the defensive and goalkeeping end are in stable positions to maintain a solid degree of success behind the play of junior goalkeeper Emma Jehle and senior attacker, Amanda Marsh, senior defense Caroline Fraylick and senior defense Sharon Bossert.
BU is set to open its season with a nonconference matchup with Lafayette on Thursday. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.