W&J Women’s Lacrosse Striving For New Heights Under Coyne
WASHINGTON, Pa. – The Washington & Jefferson College women’s lacrosse team achieved success almost immediately after becoming a NCAA Division III varsity program in 2008. The Presidents won 50 matches during the first five seasons and have made three consecutive appearances in the ECAC Division III Mid-Atlantic Tournament.
In August, W&J hired the program’s second-ever head coach, Tracy Coyne, who roamed the sidelines at the University of Notre Dame for 15 seasons (1997-2011). The 2011 IWLCA Diane Geppi-Aikens Memorial Award recipient is a Pittsburgh native who led the Fighting Irish to the 2006 NCAA Final Four. Coyne also owns experience at the Division III level with seven years in Virginia at Roanoke (1990-96) and two in neighboring Ohio at Denison (1988-89).
The credibility and expertise Coyne brings to the program could vault the Presidents ahead to their next goal, earning a spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament field. As an independent, Washington & Jefferson would have to receive one of five “Pool B” selections to the national tournament.
Coyne will have challenges to obtain that NCAA goal; however, as she inherits a limited roster of 14 players (seven seniors, two sophomores and five freshmen). Headlining the senior group is two of the team’s captains, midfielder Brittany Fradkin (Owings Mills, Md./St. Paul's School for Girls) and goalkeeper Julia McLellan (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville).
The duo has played vital roles in the early success of the program as Fradkin is third in school history with 149 points, including a school-record 70 last season (63g, 7a). With another 70-goal season, she would become the program’s all-time leader. Last spring, she ranked 61st in NCAA Division III in goals. Fradkin led the team with 69 draw controls.
McLellan is a three-year starter who owns 397 saves and an 8.05 goals-against average. As a sophomore, she was named Second Team All-West Region after being named to the 2010 Womenslacrosse.com All-Rookie Team. McLellan is the leader of a defense that ranked 11th in the nation last year in scoring defense (7.53 gpg).
Fradkin will be joined in the midfield by the third team captain, senior Kelsey Kraus (Sewickley, Pa./Quaker Valley). Kraus, who also plays soccer during the fall, provided 13 goals and three assists a year ago and will be asked to increase her production in 2013.
Defensively, Coyne will have to rebuild a unit that loses 2011 ECAC Division III Metro Region Defensive Player of the Year and 2010 Womenslacrosse.com All-American Cayla Grodotzke to graduation. Senior Kelsey Closen (Hudson, Ohio/Western Reserve Academy) returns with the most experience, having played in 42 career matches.
Senior attacker Megan Kelly (South Park, Pa./Seton LaSalle) netted 15 goals in 2012 and will be asked to increase those numbers after W&J lost 54 percent of the team’s goal production from last year.
Coyne’s first season with the Presidents begins with a three-game home stand at Alexandre Stadium, starting with the first-ever meeting with Buffalo State on March 1 (4:00 pm).