Women’s lacrosse look to finish season strong against Pace


Attacker Lexi Palmisano during a game against Southern New Hampshire University.

Luke Sugar, Sports Editor Emeritus

The number 17 ranked Saint Anselm women’s lacrosse just beat number 16 Bentley in the NE-10 conference quarterfinals 11-10 in a back-and-forth nail-biter. The Hawks advance to the NE-10 semifinals to take on number 2 Pace.   

The Hawks have shown all season that they are a true powerhouse, and their team chemistry and heart sets them apart from the competition. The NE-10 is an incredibly competitive conference, but the Hawks are battle-tested and up for the challenge.

Junior midfielder Alison Ferullo spoke about the tough competition the Hawks face, “I think that playing hard opponents and a hard schedule really helps us prepare for not only the regular season, but for the postseason as well. I think it’s really important for our team to come together and have everyone contribute. It’s important to go out and believe that we can win against these really hard teams, because we can.”

The Hawks are also fortunate to have a formidable foursome of  strong leadership. Three seniors — defender and midfielder Meghan Cotraro, attacker Taylor Cobain, and attacker Lexi Palmisano — along with junior defender Erin Doyle are the captains of the Hawks.

Cotraro spoke about the importance of leadership, “Being a leader and captain on this team, I think it’s important to remember what it’s like to be a freshman coming off the bench. It’s important making freshmen or walk-ons feel just as important as our seniors or top goal producers. Even though you’re someone who’s just finding your way, you’re still a huge contributor to our team. So having that trust and building it up from the ground up is how you produce a better team. We have two defense-focused captains and two attack-focused captains. And doing that we can really target everybody all over the field.” 

In the Bentley game, the Hawks saw a monster performance from Cobain who netted four goals and dished out an assist. Junior attacker Jess Sullivan also had a big game with a hat trick and assist of her own. Ferullo found the back of the net twice, while Palmisano and junior attacker Maggie Fitzgerald each scored once.

Clearly, the Hawks have extraordinary depth and win by committee. It takes contributions from everyone to get the job done. The Hawks also saw a huge team win in their final regular season game on Senior Day versus Saint Rose. 

Seven seniors were honored before the game: Palmisano, Cobain, Cotraro, Quinn O’Rourke, Ellie Richards, Annabelle Harrington, and Julia Silk.

The Hawks dominated Saint Rose 20-8, as the dynamic duo of Cobain and Palmisano netted five goals each. Sullivan added three goals and three assists.

Junior midfielder Isabella Stuzynski spoke about the tremendous depth of the Hawks, “I think the biggest strength of our team this season is the depth that we have and how we have so many threats offensively. In our recent win over Franklin Pierce, we had five multi-goal scorers, which isn’t unusual for us. Having such a balanced offense makes us really hard to defend. 

Along with depth and raw skill, another huge reason for the Hawks’ success this season has been their strong mental fortitude.  

“I definitely think that positive energy is so contagious on our team. The one thing that we love as a unit is that everyone comes to practice ready to both have fun and get work done. I think it’s so important on a team to remember that having fun is why we’re all here and why we do this. I have 33 best friends on the field, and I can trust them — not only playing lacrosse but with life advice. And so, having fun and positive energy is infectious on our team and I think everyone on our team is positive,” said Doyle. 

“We like to check in every week or bi-weekly with people just to check on their mental well being. That’s a huge part of it. Although we are athletes, we are also student athletes. So, I think attacking that as a whole person makes for a better team on the field,” Cotraro added.

The Hawks are a successful program, and so they rightfully have high expectations for themselves. But this season especially, the Hawks know their team is very special. 

“I think a general goal is just to make a mark. Last year we had a tough end to our season and had a tough string of losses. And this year we started out so strong with eight consecutive wins in a row. We took a couple losses here and there, but they were really close games and we came off of those games better. We always say it’s harder to beat a team twice. Before games, we all get in a huddle and we yell blue unit. And I think the word unit really connects with us this year because we’re so close and I trust every one of these girls with my life,” said Sullivan.

This season has been a historic one for the Hawks. The team had eight consecutive wins for the first time since 2014. This season also marks the most wins in head coach Meghan Smith’s career. Three players — Palmisano, Cobain, and Sullivan — broke the 100 career points and 100 career goals mark this season. Doyle and Palmisano now also have over 50 career ground balls. And goalkeeper Elizabeth Driscoll stood on her head all season, recording an astonishing 166 saves. 

Stuzynski praised Driscoll saying, “One of the biggest strengths of this team this year is our goalkeeper, Elizabeth Driscoll. She’s a sophomore and she’s just been unreal. She’s won goalie of the week three times now, and that’s no surprise to us.”

Cotraro, Stuzynski, Doyle, and Kylee Horlbeck were all inducted into the athlete honor society during the Saint Anselm College Department of Athletics end of the year awards.

Be sure to support the Hawks and stream their semifinals match as they head to New York to take on Pace. The game is set for Friday May 5 at 6 p.m.

Attacker Jess Sullivan leads scoring. (Courtesy / Jim Stankiewicz)