By: Hunter Lobur-Cummins
The Canisius women’s lacrosse team will start their 2022 campaign on Saturday, February 12 at noon as the team plays at Bucknell in Lewisburg, Pa. It will be newly-appointed head coach Russell Allen’s first game as the leader of the program.
Last season, the Griffs finished with a 2-8 record as the team only played ten total games due to a shortened schedule. The two wins were ones to build off of though, as the Griffs took down the Monmouth Hawks 16-15 in an exciting overtime finish at home, and then beat the Iona Gaels by a margin of ten, 18-8 in New Rochelle, N.Y.
With a new staff at hand, significant offensive changes will be showcased come game time this season and a new structure should result in better movement and fluidity, meaning the team can now operate in a more creative fashion. A wider number of players will now get the chance to be involved in playmaking.
This season’s roster is comprised of one graduate student, five seniors, six juniors, nine sophomores, and four freshmen. Goaltender Shannon Maroney is back in net for her senior season, while Skylar McArthur and Megan Hoffman will look to contribute solid 2-way play as senior midfielders. Alexandra Pound and Katie Smolensky lead the offensive charge for the Griffs as senior attackers.
For returning players, sophomore midfielder Riley Davis led the way with 19 goals and four assists last season to total 23 points while Katie Smolensky contributed 17 goals of her own and five assists to offer 22 points. Another returning double-digit goal scorer is junior midfielder Paige Stachura, who finished with 12 goals and four assists resulting in 16 total points last season.
As a team, the Griffs scored just shy of 100 total goals last season, with 97. With a 17-game schedule ahead, the team should have no issues surpassing the century mark this year.
First-year coach Allen will look to make an immediate impact from the sidelines with his expertise and coaching experience. Allen comes from Concordia University Chicago, where he guided his team to their first Northern Athletic Collegiate Conference (NACC) title game last season. He also won the university’s athletic coach of the year award that same season for his efforts.
Allen has stated that a main goal for the program this season is to clinch a berth in the MAAC tournament. He truly believes that the Griffs have the talent to do so, and the first stepping stone to a postseason appearance comes on Saturday.