Saint Joseph's will move from the Colonial Athletic Association to join the Northeast Conference as an associate member in men's lacrosse beginning next season, NEC commissioner Noreen Morris announced Wednesday.
Saint Joseph's becomes the second associate member this week to announce a move to the NEC; Hobart said on Monday that it will join, raising the conference's membership in men's lacrosse to seven for the 2014 season. NEC core members Bryant, Mount St. Mary's, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Wagner all sponsor men's lacrosse.
"The changing landscape of college athletics and conference realignment created this opportunity to join the NEC, providing an option that suits our long-term interests and positions us for future success," Saint Joseph's athletic director Don DiJulia said. "We are extremely excited to join the NEC and to compete with these fine institutions as we continue to grow our men's lacrosse program."
Last season, Saint Joseph's celebrated the 20th anniversary of the sponsorship of men's lacrosse as a varsity sport. The Hawks had competed as a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for 14 seasons and then, after making a refocused commitment to the program, joined the CAA in 2011.
Saint Joseph's has made considerable improvement in the past two seasons under Wray, totaling more wins than in the previous three years combined. The Hawks went 6-9 in 2012 and 5-11 in 2013, which included a 7-6 win over 2012 CAA champion Massachusetts. Freshman attackman Pat Swanick was named to the CAA All-Rookie team, making him the first player in program history to earn postseason honors from the conference.
"The NEC is a conference committed to academic and athletic excellence, and it has demonstrated the commitment to building a premier lacrosse conference," Hawks coach Taylor Wray said. "It is clear to me that lacrosse is a priority sport for the NEC, and we are excited to be a part of it. We believe this is a great fit for Saint Joseph's and a great move for our program."
Saint Joseph's has a 19-17 all-time record against NEC programs, including a 3-2 mark since the NEC began sponsoring the sport officially in 2011.
"The addition of Saint Joseph's and Hobart will not only strengthen the NEC men's lacrosse brand, it will continue our upward trajectory in a sport where we are just scratching the surface of our potential," said NEC commissioner Morris. "Likewise, these two institutions also bring excellent traditions of academic success and community involvement, two areas in which the NEC strives to be a leader."
Goucher hires Miller as women's coach
Goucher announced that 2008 McDaniel graduate Ceri Miller will take over as coach, replacing Katie Trainor, who had coached for the past eight seasons.
The Gophers finished 7-9 last season, including an 0-4 record in the Landmark Conference. They haven't had a winning season since 2006, when they went 9-7 and 3-3 in the Capital Athletic Conference.
Miller comes to Goucher after serving as an assistant women's lacrosse coach at since 2010. Before that, she was an assistant coach for both the women's lacrosse and field hockey programs at Washington & Jefferson.
At Dickinson, Miller had primary responsibility for the defensive unit and goalkeepers; she also was involved in all the day-to-day operations of a Division III intercollegiate women's lacrosse program, including recruitment of athletes, academic progress, practice planning and game-day operations.
Miller, who received both bachelor's and master's degrees in excerise science and physical education from McDaniel, has a strong background in strength and conditioning. In addition, she assisted Dickinson's women's lacrosse team with organizing community service events, including one for which the program received an award from the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association in 2011.
Baltimore-area coach Engster takes over at Sweet Briar
Division III Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Va., announced the appointment of Salisbury native Hayley Engster as coach.
Engster is well-acquainted with the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The former Lynchburg defender was a four-year starter for the Hornets (2003-2007).
Upon graduation, she worked as an assistant women's coach at Goucher. Engster then became an assistant director and women's lacrosse coach with Diamonds Lacrosse (2009-2011), a prominent all-girls lacrosse club in Baltimore.
During her tenure with Diamonds Lacrosse, Engster held head coaching positions at St. Paul's and Park schools.
In May, Engster earned a master's degree from Salisbury in applied health physiology with a focus on strength and conditioning.