By: Andrew Korba
The 2016 Hiram College women's lacrosse team will open the season with a new face at the helm of the program. Brianne Dishong becomes just the second head coach in women's lacrosse history as the team heads into its fourth year of existence.
Dishong welcomes back eight letter winners from last season's squad that posted a program record five wins. The Terriers will look to continue to build the program for the future, while competing in the always tough North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC).
Hiram welcomes back two of its three leading goal scorers from last season. Junior Autumn Osgood (Hyde Park, Vt./Lamoille Union) returns after posting program records in goals (34), points (39), shots (66) and assists (5) last season. She also scored a program record six goals in a game two different times. For her efforts, she was named Honorable Mention All-NCAC.
Sophomore Sierah Ray (Tallmadge, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) is also back. Ray put together a nice first season for Hiram, scoring 13 goals and scooping up 26 ground balls.
Junior Kayla Jenkins (Solon, Ohio/Solon) and sophomore Alyse Gillentine (Hartville, Ohio/Lake) both will provide help on offense. Jenkins tallied four goals last season, while Gillentine scored six times.
Junior Kayla Cornett (Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville) also returns on offense after seeing action in 11 contests in 2015.
Defensively, the Terriers will lean on senior Paige McLain (Beaver Falls, Pa./Blackhawk) and junior Erin Smith (Youngstown, Ohio/Cardinal Mooney). McLain has been with the program since it began in 2013. She finished with 20 ground ball pickups and six caused turnovers, which was fourth on the team. Smith saw action in 15 games, scoring two goals, scooping up 19 ground balls and causing four turnovers.
In goal, sophomore Rachel Metcalf (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls) returns after putting together a solid first season. Metcalf made 127 saves in goal last season, while posting a .339 save percentage. She also had a team leading 47 ground ball pickups.
The Terriers also welcome in seven newcomers who will provide depth, while being depended on to take on roles immediately.
Hiram will open the season on March 2 with home contest against Muskingum. The Terriers will then embark on a quick two game road trip at Lycoming (Pa.) and Washington & Jefferson (Pa.), before returning home to host Olivet (Mich.) on March 16. The Terriers also host Wilmington, Notre Dame (OH), and Hilbert (N.Y.) on non-conference home contests and travel to take on Thiel (Pa.) and Franciscan.
The Terriers will open NCAC play on March 26 with a road game at Wooster and host DePauw (Ind.) in their first conference home game on April 2. The Terriers will close out the season on April 30 with a home versus Ohio Wesleyan.
Dishong is ready for her first season and is excited by the progress the team has made in practice. Facing a tough schedule, she knows that Hiram will need to keep its focus all year to reach goals of the team.