Feb 07, 2018

2018 Women's Lacrosse Season Preview

A Winning Tradition

  • Two Northwest Conference Championships (Co-Champs - 2016, 2017)
  • One Northwest Conference Player of the Year (Alexa Nakashimada - 2016)
  • 28 All-Northwest Conference Athletes  
  • Four straight winning seasons (2014-17)

By Alex Plusquellec

NEWBERG, Ore. – Newly appointed lacrosse coach Katie Mastropaolo has hopes that her band of accomplished and talented players can be a force to be reckoned with in 2018.

George Fox will take the field looking to repeat as Northwest Conference champions. After claiming a share of the conference championship in 2016, the Bruins finished 2017 with a 12-2 mark, including a flawless 8-0 NWC record on their way to the outright conference title.

Mastropaolo acknowledges that the culture of the sport is continuing to grow and thrive in an area of the country that has not traditionally been recognized for its deep lacrosse roots.

"The East Coast has been known as the lacrosse hub," Mastropaolo said. "The West Coast has been looked at as the 'new frontier,' but not anymore. There is more excitement for what it could be. We want to be a beacon in the west."

Seeking their fifth straight winning season, the Bruins have the opportunity to further establish themselves on a national level. Jennifer Burke, Mikaela Easterlin and Jess Hanson were each All-NWC selections a year ago, and all are back to provide leadership for a team that includes 13 underclassmen.

Mastropaolo knows what it takes to compete and be successful at a high level, having done so herself during her collegiate career at the University of Mary Washington. Pairing her NCAA tournament experience with the already-successful group she has inherited will make for an exciting run at the conference crown.

"It's going to be a collective group effort," Mastropaolo said. "We have a strong group of returners who are looking forward to the season."

The combination of youth and experience will be important in navigating a schedule that includes top-tier programs. That schedule starts with nonconference opponents that include Pomona-Pitzer, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Westminster-Salt Lake, who combined to go 37-15 a year ago.

Lois Ray, Emma Fanger, Madison Strickland and Madison Stratton each appeared in at least 13 games last spring and will play a key role in the success of this year's group and the culture of George Fox lacrosse moving forward.

"We have a group of high-quality students who are high-quality athletes," Mastropaolo said. "I am excited to continue the culture."

The Bruins will begin their season on Feb. 17 in a play day hosted by Linfield before hosting Westminster-Salt Lake on Feb. 24. They will also have a program-first, hosting NCAA Division I Oregon State University's club team in an exhibition Feb. 28 – marking the first time the Bruins will play an NCAA Division I opponent.