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Back on top: Women’s lacrosse and its journey to the national championship

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

What better way to bounce back from a season gone down the drain than fulfilling your dreams of winning a national championship?

Photos Courtesy of Brad Boardman

That’s exactly what the Salisbury University women’s lacrosse team did this past season, as the Sea Gulls captured their fourth national title in program history.

The season began with a dark cloud over the head of the program. Nobody knew whether they were going to have a complete season or a chance at the national title.

“With the way 2020 ended, there was a lot of uncertainty,” said Jim Nestor, Head Coach of the women's lacrosse team. “These last two seasons have made us realize just how fortunate we are to be coaching and playing this game.”

As a result of the cancellations of spring sports in the midst of the pandemic, the National Collegiate Athletic Association granted spring athletes an additional year of eligibility.

Having seniors return for another season, Nestor said, played a large role for his group.

“Having the senior class back for another year, and them having the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of winning a national championship,” Nestor said. “I’m just so happy for them and all that they were able to accomplish and get through after all of the stress from [the 2020 season].”

Three Sea Gulls garnered All-American honors last season, each of them being seniors: Carrie Hesen, Lydia McNulty and Alexis Strobel.

Nestor says his fourth national championship is just as special as the other three, each of them for their own specific reasons.

“The first one is always special,” Nestor said. “But each team has its own qualities and characteristics that make them unique.”

In June, it was announced Nestor was the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association National Coach of the year for his efforts during the 2021 season, his second time winning the prestigious award.

To Nestor, it’s an honor to be so well-respected by fellow lacrosse coaches across the nation.

“It’s really nice to be recognized by your peers,” Nestor said. “Knowing that coaches across the conference respect what you’re doing, it’s a nice feeling.”

The 2021 offseason thus far is already more normal than the year prior.

During the 2020 off season, it was much more difficult for the team to have their organized training and workouts.

“The girls are doing their offseason workouts and bonding together,” Nestor said. “It all seems to be going smoothly.”

With no shortage of adversity, perseverance drove this squad to the top.

There’s no doubt the Sea Gulls are going to have their eyes set on a fifth title in 2022.

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