AU lacrosse had its best start in program history last year, opening the year with a 7-0 record in non-conference play before the season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. What made the start even more impressive is how the team accomplished it, with an interim head coach leading the way following the release of former head coach Jenna Petrucelli two months before the season.
With many of the core players from last year's team returning for what they hope will be a full season in the spring, the team needed a new figure to lead the way.
Enter Lindsay Teeters, who AU hired for the head coaching position in June. Teeters comes to AU with over a decade of coaching experience on the high school, collegiate and Team USA levels, and was drawn to the team’s potential.
“I definitely have been keeping an eye on American throughout the years,” Teeters said. “Knowing that it was a program on the rise, it was something that I was hoping to be a part of.”
Teeters also referenced the success of other women’s sports at AU in the Patriot League as a huge draw to the lacrosse program.
“When you look at the female sports at American, and you look at the field hockey program and the volleyball program and women’s basketball and the success that they’ve had, it goes to show that lacrosse has the potential to succeed in the Patriot League and the national stage,” Teeters said. “And they proved it this [past] spring.”
Teeters is walking into a program that finished above .500 for the first time since 2011. And it seems like others are taking note of what AU lacrosse could potentially become too.
While Teeters has had limited access to the recruiting trail, she said interest in the program has risen due to last year’s success.
“Recruiting has gone really well,” Teeters said. “We’re getting a lot of interest, and I actually wrote the girls a thank you note just to say they did this. The program is on the rise and it's going to continue to be on the rise because of the success they had on the field. The lacrosse world is taking notice.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down most college athletics operations, Teeters’ transition period is unique. As a new coach inheriting an entire roster of players, she’s had to familiarize herself with the players from afar.
“I’ve tried to find the positive in all of this, and recognized that it’s given me an opportunity to really get to know the girls one on one and get to know them off the field,” Teeters said. “The support that we’ve received from the athletic department and the University has allowed me the opportunity to just build a relationship with the girls, with the team, with each class.”
While the NCAA has not set a start date for the next lacrosse season, it is clear that when AU hits the field, they will have a lot of talent to work with.
Senior Emma Vinall, who became the first All-American in program history last year, is returning to the program after leading Division I in total goals, goals per game, and shots on goal. According to one metric, Vinall was the best player in women’s college lacrosse last season.
Teeters also referenced senior Kendall Goldblum, who was second on the team in goals last year, as a key player on the roster. With the NCAA giving spring athletes who had their seasons cut short last year an extra year of eligibility, senior Casey Harkins, who tied with Vinall in leading the Patriot League in total points and points per game, is back as well.
Teeters wants to use an aggressive offensive playing style to maximize the talent she has returning.
“We’re going to push the pace,” Teeters said. “I think we’ve got a really strong offensive unit coming back, and a lot of power on the offensive end. And for us, to really make the jump we want in the Patriot League and nationally, we’ve got to make sure we’re a little more dynamic defensively.”
Her experience in the Patriot League will provide Teeters with a personally interesting matchup this year, as she’ll face her alma mater Boston University, where she graduated in 2006 as the team’s all-time leading scorer during conference play. Teeters still has a lot of connections with the program, as one of her favorite former teammates, Lauren Morton is currently the head coach.
“I’m a very active alumni, and that is part of the reason I was so interested in American because I follow Boston University so much,” Teeters said. “I certainly have love and passion for my Terriers, but when I step on that field against them and I’m wearing red, white and blue, there is no doubt that I want that win probably more than any other win.”
But at the end of the day, the goal for Teeters and her team this season is still to continue to establish the AU lacrosse program as one that commands respect from its opponents.
“We want to make waves, we want every team to be scared of us and every team to feel like they’ve got to prep a little harder when they're getting ready to play American,” Teeters said. “Showing everyone that American not only had a 7-0 start last year but that it wasn’t a fluke, that we are here to stay, and that we’re going to become a powerhouse in the Patriot League.”