Sports are back: Laxers to face Allegheny in '21 opener
Fredonia State women's lacrosse will earn the distinction as the first Blue Devil team to return to intercollegiate competition after a year-long pandemic pause when it faces Allegheny on Saturday, March 20 at University Stadium. Game time is 1 p.m. No spectators will be allowed to attend.
The last game by any Fredonia State team was March 11, 2020, when the lady laxers defeated D'Youville in Buffalo -- a break of 374 days since any Fredonia State competition. It'll also be a whopping 700 days between home games for women's lacrosse dating back to a 13-12 win over Plattsburgh on April 20, 2019.
Marykate Edmunds, in her third season as head coach, posted a 4-13 mark her first season and was 2-1 last year when the season was canceled. She and the Blue Devils will face an uphill task this spring. Other than the game vs. Allegheny and an April 7 home date vs. D'Youville, Fredonia State will play its remaining eight games against SUNYAC West teams -- two each against Brockport, Buffalo State, Geneseo, and Oswego. Of that quartet, Brockport (No. 16) and Geneseo (No. 21) were ranked in the latest IWLCA NCAA Division III poll.
"We have a very tough schedule," Edmunds said prior to the season. "It helps to have returners who understand our system. We have phenomenal leadership within the upperclassmen and will look towards continuity in the starting lineup to continue to make progress."
Key returners consist of attacks Allison Coon, Madeline Haney, and Erin Woods; midfielders Sarah English, Bri Emery, and Julia Nicolosi; defenders Tessa Brady and Ally Kilburn; and goalkeeper Emily Carr. Of the group, four are sophomores: Woods, Emery, Kilburn, and Carr. Haney is a fifth-year player; Coon, English, and Nicolosi are seniors; and Brady is a junior.
Haney is the lone 2020 senior who took advantage of an extra year of eligibility awarded to all of last year's spring athletes by the NCAA. She had 35 goals and three assists in 2019 while Coon had 27 goals and a team-high 49 points two years ago. Woods had four goals in last year's win over D'Youville before the plug was pulled. Also left to wonder what might have been was Emery, who had a team-high 20 draw controls in the three games. Nicolosi (4 goals, 1 assist) was also off to a good start statistically in 2020.
Edmunds said it's too early to determine which of the newcomers -- there are three freshmen, six other sophomores with a small sample of college game experience, and one junior transfer -- will make a lasting impact this season. She will attempt to add one more non-conference game -- possibly on April 20 -- as a way to get her young team more playing time.