Hamline News

Piper Women's Lacrosse Wins Championships, Awards

Photo of the Hamline women's lacrosse team

From moving forward to the NCAA tournament, to the team earning multiple honors and their head coach being named coach of the year, Hamline’s women’s lacrosse team has a lot to be proud of.

On May 1 the women’s lacrosse team won against the University of Northwestern in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference (MWLC), gaining them their fourth MWLC win and earning them an NCAA tournament appearance. While the whole team contributed to this win in their own way, Ashley Hessler ‘21 was awarded the Attacker of the Year and Head Coach Karen Heggernes was named the MWLC’s Coach of the Year.

Hessler’s attacker of the year award—attackers are responsible for scoring goals—was determined by votes from all of the head coaches in the MWLC. These awards are awarded based on individual stats and performance throughout the season.

Hessler is majoring in biology and public health science, and outside of lacrosse is involved in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the Hamline Initiative for Professional and Academic Liaisons (HIPAL), Camp Kesem, and Pre-Health Club.

“Thinking back to my first year, I never would have imagined that I would receive this award. A lot of my points on the season come from assists so this award was not earned alone,” Hessler said.

This season brought many awards to the team. Seven of their players were named to the MWLC First Team, with two being named to the Second Team. Placement in these teams relies on the coaches nominating and voting for the top players in each position in the MWLC. The players named to the First Team are seniors Alyssa Bryan-Jeffries, Tara Westerlund, Maya Hernandez, Maria Lewis, Ashley Hessler, junior Tara DeLeo and sophomore Taryn Leonard. Those named on the Second Team are sophomore Michaela Arnold and first-year Kendra Haselow. Senior Melanie Hopkins received an All-Sportsmanship award.

This is the fourth season that Coach Heggernes has been voted the coach of the year by her fellow coaches in the MWLC.

“It is an honor I share with my team and coaching staff. Whenever a coach receives this kind of award, it’s important to recognize the student-athletes who worked hard and believed in something bigger than any individual,” Heggernes said. “I share this award with my entire team.”

Hessler is grateful that the team was able to have a season.

“At the end of the day, I am thankful for the opportunity to play and compete as I know many athletes did not get that opportunity this year,” Hessler said.

This sense of gratitude for her teammates is also present in Hessler’s thoughts about how and why they won the conference game, a goal they had wanted to achieve since the start of the season.

“Reaching this goal helped solidify that the work we put in to improve our skills and build team chemistry had paid off," Hessler said.

“Thank you to Hamline University for your continued support of our team both on and off the field,” Heggernes said. “Thank you to our Hamline lacrosse alumni who paved the way for us to get here. If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have the foundation of the great team culture we continue to have year over year.”

The NCAA tournament took place at the University of Chicago on May 8, where the team lost to the University of Chicago Maroons.

 Written by Eliza Hagstrom '23

May 13, 2021