The Bentley women's lacrosse team will take the field for the first time on Wednesday when they visit LIU Post in a non-conference matchup in the first of 15 regular season games. It will be the program's first game under new head coach Taylor Bastien, a 2013 graduate of Bentley.
The Falcons will take the field on Wednesday returning a good portion of last season's team that made the Northeast-10 Championship Tournament for the 6th straight time, and the 11th time in the last 12 years.
"We are excited to get the 2018 season underway and look forward to our first game against LIU Post, we've worked very hard this preseason to prepare for a really tough schedule," Bastien said.
"Led by our senior class, our team has shown up every day focused and ready to train extremely hard," Bastien continued. "I'm personally so excited to have the opportunity to lead Bentley this season and look forward to helping this team reach its fullest potential. We're eager to play games and compete every single day."
Attacker Ciara Morley (Irvington, N.Y./Irvington) is the squad's leading returning scorer, and the attacking core's most experienced, after she netted 22 goals and recorded 27 points last season. The team can call on the likes of Melissa Makarius (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) and freshman Julia Glavin (Ipswich, Mass./Ipswich), a US Lacrosse All-American last season, as well.
Bentley is perhaps most experienced in midfield and defense, where returnees Woods, Carolyn Cruise (East Greenwich, R.I./East Greenwich), Emily De Marinis (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) and Kathleen Gillespie (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet) all started 17 games last season. O'Neill started 18 games at defense as a sophomore in 2016 and was named second team All-Conference, but last season was shortened by an injury.
Gillespie has been all-around threat in her three seasons at Bentley with over 200 career draw controls, to go along with 46 goals, 64 ground balls and 34 caused turnovers.
In goal, sophomore Eliza Bresler (Newton, Mass./Newton North) is set to step in for Lauren Ochs, who graduated after starting over 50 games in her career. Bresler though gained valuable experience last season and made six appearances.
Bentley is set to have a tough schedule as usual in 2018, as seven of their opponents are currently ranked in the IWLCA Top-25. Four are ranked in the top-seven, NE10 foes Adelphi, Le Moyne and New Haven, while Wednesday's opponent LIU Post is ranked No. 5. The Falcons host Adelphi on April 11 and New Haven on April 25, and travel to Le Moyne on April 25. Their second game opponent, New York Tech on March 13 away, is ranked No. 13.
The Falcons open at home on March 17 against AIC, and their home schedule also includes games against Stonehill (March 24), Franklin Pierce (March 28), Pace (April 14) and Southern New Hampshire (April 28), in addition to the aforementioned games against Adelphi and New Haven.