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Women’s Lacrosse Takes on Dartmouth Today

Long-range goal: seventh straight America East title

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Tricaptain Rachel Collins (CAS’11) leads the women’s lacrosse team by example. Photo by Steve McLaughlin

In a sure sign that spring is almost here, the women’s lacrosse team takes to Nickerson Field today to host the ninth-ranked Dartmouth Big Green.

Led by captains Rachel Collins (CAS’11), Molly Swain (CFA’12), and Catie Tilton (COM’12) and shepherded by head coach Liz Robertshaw, the Terriers hope to capitalize on the past six seasons’ success with what members describe as a strong, experienced team. But their goal is about more than just winning games.

“At the end of the season, we want to say that we gave everything we could to each practice and faced opponents as a team rather than as individuals,” says Tilton. “We mesh well, and we keep each other motivated. And it’s not just us captains providing leadership—all of our seniors are setting examples and introducing our new girls to what BU lacrosse is.”

Each of this year’s captains brings her own unique style of leadership to the game. “Molly is a calming presence on the field,” Tilton says. “When she gets the ball, we all feel a little more confident. We can look to her to slow down the game, to help us through situations where we may be behind.” And midfielder Collins, she says, “shows by example.”

“As for myself, a lot of the underclassman look up to me,” Tilton says. “I’m good at listening, hearing them out. I’m the person they can go to when they need to talk something out.”

Collins, like a number of her teammates, is part of what could be called a sister act. Older sister Molly Collins (CAS’08) was Terrier captain three years ago. Then there are the Baumgartners, attacker Erica (SHA’11) and defender Monica (CGS’11), who are sharing the field for a second season. Defender Shannon Gilroy (CGS’12) is the sister of two men’s hockey players, 2009 Hobie Baker Award winner Matt Gilroy (MET’09) and current team member Kevin Gilroy (MET’12).

“We don’t push BU on them,” Robertshaw says. “We want them to discover that it’s a good place for them on their own. It helps that they know what BU lacrosse is. They all chose it on their own.”

Another theme central to this year’s Terrier team: many of the women are local. Of the 21 team members, 6 are from Massachusetts, which has become a hotbed for women’s lacrosse at the high school level. Top college programs like Northwestern and Maryland now routinely recruit heavily in the region.

“We have had to work harder to keep girls here in Massachusetts,” says Robertshaw. “But we’re finding that we can compete with the other programs in recruiting. There is a pride in playing for a Massachusetts team, in how we handle our sports, and how hard we work at them. It’s a very blue-collar mentality. We have four more Massachusetts girls joining us next year, and I’m happy that they want to stay in the area.”

The team, 1-2 as the season begins, has two promising goaltenders, Kim Elsworth (CAS’13), who is rotating with newcomer Christina Sheridan (SAR’14). Elsworth has played in all three games, and Sheridan has seen action in two. Offensively, Danielle Estrasco (SHA’13) is leading the team thus far, with 11 goals and 17 points.

Looking at the team as a whole, the coach is pleased with what she sees. “In practices, the freshmen have been great, they’ve been prepared. The older girls have set a great example about what to expect, what BU lacrosse is about,” Robertshaw says, “and the younger girls are understanding that quickly.”

“We want the girls to get better every day,” she says. “If we can handle all the little things well, then we should have a good season.”

After today’s game against Dartmouth, the Terriers will host George Mason University on Saturday, March 12, before setting out on a three-game road trip next week, facing off against Notre Dame, ranked 13th, the University of Denver, and Yale.

The team starts its quest for a seventh straight America East title on March 26 in the season’s first conference game, against Binghamton.

“Our goal is to host the America East championships and make it past the NCAA first round,” says Tilton.

The BU women’s lacrosse team hosts Dartmouth College on Wednesday, March 9, at 4 p.m., and George Mason University on Saturday, March 12, at 1 p.m., both at Nickerson Field. Tickets are $5 for the general public, $2 for faculty, staff, and students with a BU ID, free for students with a Sports Pass. More information is available here.

Kat Hasenauer Cornetta can be reached at katcorn@bu.edu.

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