Women’s lacrosse secures top spot in ODAC and looks toward NCAAs

W&L’s 10th-ranked women’s lacrosse team makes run for ninth-straight ODAC title


Elly Cosgrove, Sports Writer

Top ten nationally-ranked Washington and Lee women’s lacrosse is riding on an 11-game winning streak as they enter into ODAC tournament play this week.

After securing the top spot in the ODAC and defeating Roanoke on April 29, W&L has a first-round bye  in the tournament and will host both quarterfinals and finals on May 5 and May 6, respectively.

The team has won eight straight ODAC championships and hopes to secure their ninth title this weekend. But after an NCAA Final Four appearance just last year, the team also has their sights set on something much greater.

“Our goal this season has been to win a national championship,” Head Coach Brooke O’Brien said. “In order to do that we hope to win our ninth-straight ODAC Championship and then advance back to the final four like last season.

Attack Jess Castelo, ‘18, has had a strong senior season and currently sits at 38 goals. She said the team proved they deserved to be nationally-ranked last year and hopes they have the opportunity to earn the same respect this year on the national NCAA stage.

“For this year we are sort of going at it again trying to prove that we are a really capable team of making it to the Final Four,” Castelo said. “We know the determination and the mindset and sort of the team chemistry necessary to get there. We are just trying to recreate and improve upon our accomplishments last year.”

Earning a top ten national ranking has not been an easy journey for the Generals. The team has suffered several injuries this season. But, this has given younger players the chance to step up.

Midfielder Dani Murray, ‘20, has had a breakout season with 35 goals in total. Other younger players that have made major contributions this year include Landon Shelley, ’21, with 17 goals and Collette Murray, ‘20, with 22 goals. Underclassmen defensive contributors include Caitlin Anderson, ‘20, and Abigail Hancock, ‘21.

“This team is a hardworking group that has persevered through lots of injuries and other distractions,” O’Brien said. “We are an extremely deep team in every position and we never really know who is going to step up and make the big plays in each game because we have so many players who are capable of doing so.”

Although there is reason to celebrate the younger players and their efforts in lifting the team to NCAA playoffs once more, there was also reason to celebrate the seniors this past Saturday in the game against Roanoke.

Senior Day was held to honor the six women who have dedicated their time and energy to the program over the past four years. The six senior players are Castelo, Lexi Sortisio, ‘18, Mimi McCowatt, ‘18, Riley Garcia, ‘18, Haley Rising, ‘18 and Hannah Wiltshire, ‘18.

“I really just want to have fun with my team,” said Castelo about her last season. “This is the last year that I’ll get to be on the W&L women’s lacrosse team and it has been an incredible experience the past three seasons, so I really want this one to be the best one yet.”

The team won 19-8 against Roanoke College at home on Saturday.

Murray scored five goals and had one assist, while Cordelia Peters, ‘19, tallied four goals and two assists.

The Generals’ opponent for the semifinal of the ODAC Tournament has yet to be determined.