The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Tuesday February 27th

Women's Lacrosse: Lions win on Senior Day, senior spotlights

The Lions had their final regular season home game against Kean University this past Saturday, April 15, where the College got the job done 14-2 (only three quarters played due to weather conditions). Senior featured: Anna Devlin. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone / Photo Editor)
The Lions had their final regular season home game against Kean University this past Saturday, April 15, where the College got the job done 14-2 (only three quarters played due to weather conditions). Senior featured: Anna Devlin. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gladstone / Photo Editor)

By Joey Bachich
Staff Writer

Storylines of the game 

The Lions celebrated their large class of 13 seniors before the game including Wayden Ay, Kaitlyn Birnbohm-Kaminski, Anna Devlin, Larissa Hatzold, Katherine Naiburg, Veronika O’Donnell, Bobbi O’Neill, Sophia Pappalardo, Kileigh Pfluger, Nikki Phillips, Sabrina Phillips, Jillian Westerby and Anna Wright. The Lions got up early leading 6-1 after the first quarter and never looked back after taking the lead early in the quarter. They led 11-2 at halftime and 14-2 after the third quarter, where the game was called due to lightning and rain. The game was never in doubt, and the Lions look to roll into the last three games white hot. 

Senior Spotlights

Wayden Ay 

Wayden Ay, a biology major, transferred from Georgetown University to the College after her freshman year and has not looked back ever since. This season she leads the team in ground balls at 27 and in caused turnovers where she has 18. Ay is one of the best defenders that the College has ever seen. Her presence on the field will surely be missed by the Lions come next season as she leaves a huge hole to fill as such an incredible player. 

When talking to Wayden, she talked about what it meant to her to be a part of the Lions program.

“I instantly felt like I was part of a team that was bigger than just lacrosse. TCNJ WLAX has brought me endless memories and some of my closest friends,” she said. “Overall, playing as a Lion with the best teammates in the world has been such a rewarding experience and something I will cherish forever.”

Kaitlyn Birnbohm-Kaminski 

Another transfer, Kaitlyn Birnbohm-Kaminski, a secondary education and biology major, came to the College after her sophomore season from Bryant University. She tore her ACL before the 2022 season and has really bounced back this season with 13 ground balls and 6 caused turnovers. There were a lot of hardships during Kaitlyn’s career, but she has battled her way back to be a great defender for the Lions and will be missed. 

Anna Devlin 

Anna Devlin, a health and exercise science major, is one of the best at taking draw controls in the College’s history, breaking the school record against Kean with her 298th career draw win. She also has the second most goals on the team with 34 and is tied for first in points with 49. She is third on the team in caused turnovers, which shows she can do it all on the field. Devlin is definitely one of the leaders on the team through her hard work and doing all of the little things on the field. She will be missed in the locker room and on the field. 

Larissa Hatzold 

Larissa Hatzold, a nursing major, has always been an important part of the Lions core. A big game player, she registered a point in every NCAA tournament game the Lions won in 2022. This season, she is third in ground balls at 22 and has doubled her ground ball numbers from last season, which is very impressive. Hatzold is a point per game player that is very good offensively and leaves a great legacy at the College. 

Katherine Naiburg

Katherine Naiburg, a nursing major, has quietly put together a fantastic final season with 24 goals and 12 assists. She has had many multi point games this season and what a way to go off into the sunset with 36 points and counting this season. She is third on the team in assists at 12 and fourth in goals at 24. What a great finish to a career for Naiburg, and she should be proud of the season she is putting together. 

Veronika O’Donnell 

Veronika O’Donnell, a biology major, is a complete offensive player with 17 goals and 10 assists in her career at the College, playing attack all four years. She was an IWLCA Academic Honor Roll selection and a two time NJAC All Academic team. Her best game was during her sophomore year against Rutgers-Camden when she had one goal and a stunning five assists. 

Bobbi O’Neill 

Bobbi O’Neill, a special education/iSTEM major, started ten games in 2022 before having a season ending injury that has bleed into this season for O’Neill. She had 7 ground balls in ten games, but injury has hindered her career. Just when she was getting going, O’Neill was struck by the injury bug, but she has been on the field the past two games, so the door is not shut yet on O’Neill in her final season. 

Sophia Pappalardo 

Sophia Pappalardo, a criminology major, had a late blooming career which saw her start ten games in 2022 and three games in 2023. Pappalardo was called upon her junior year after injuries struck the Lions defense and started in every NCAA tournament game in 2022. Her best game was against SUNY Cortland in the NCAA tournament where she recorded six ground balls in a win. Pappalardo has played great in her career and saved the Lions season in 2022 when she was counted on the most. 

Kileigh Pfluger 

Kileigh Pfluger, a health and exercise science major, has had a successful career in both field hockey and lacrosse the past four years and leaves behind a legacy like her mother (head coach Sharon Pfluger) of being an all around athlete at the College. In her career as a defender, she has 27 ground balls and 26 caused turnovers. Pfluger is going to have a ton of memories from the College and has been a great player for the program. 

Nikki Phillips 

Nikki Phillips, a special education/iSTEM major, has been a cornerstone for the program for three years, starting every game since her sophomore year: an impressive feat for one half of the Phillips twins as she graduates after four years of amazing play. In her career, she has 39 ground balls and 30 caused turnovers. As a sophomore in 2021, she was third in caused turnovers on the team with 11. Nikki has been a core piece of defense for three years, and it is going to be tough to replace such a great player. 

Sabrina Phillips 

Sabrina Phillips, a nursing major, has started every single game since freshman year on defense and leaves the Lions after four amazing years. 50 ground balls, 35 caused turnovers and 209 draws controlled are some insane numbers for her career totals. Sabrina leaves the Lions with her sister Nikki, and both leave an outstanding mark on the program. 

Jillian Westerby 

Jillian Westerby, a biology major, transferred to the College after her freshman year at the University of Hartford and made an impact in her first season as a sophomore. She was the NJAC Rookie of the Year in 2021 and was third on the team in goals with 30 and was first in ground balls with 25. For her career she has 105 points and looks to add to that total. Westerby is the one of the best two way midfielders in the College’s history and her amazing ability will be missed by the team. 

Anna Wright 

Anna Wright, a health and exercise science major, is one of the best goalscorers in the College’s history. She was third on the team in points, goals, and assists in 2022 as she played a vital role in the College’s trip to the Final Four. This year, she has not slowed down, scoring almost three goals a game. She has started every game this season and is third in goals scored so far with 35. She is such an offensive talent, it is going to be a tough time finding another Anna Wright, as she is one of a kind on the field.  

When talking to Wright, she talked about what she is going to miss most about the program.  

“I’m definitely going to miss spending every day with my teammates,” Wright said. “I’ve met some of my best and lifelong friends in this program, and I can’t imagine playing with a different group of girls every day…We have had so many amazing experiences together, and I’m so grateful that this program led me to so many amazing people.”

What's ahead 

The Lions have two NJAC games left, both away at Stockton (April 18) and Ramapo (April 29), but the biggest game of the year is on April 22 away at No. 5 Salisbury. 

Congratulations to all the seniors!


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