The launch of women’s lacrosse as a Northwest Conference-sponsored sport in 2015 coincides with the arrival of new coach Kat Enders, an Oregon native who competed in Division III lacrosse in the Midwest at Ohio Wesleyan University.
Enders and the Wildcats have high hopes for the season, given the team’s strong cohesion, fresh optimism, and rigorous conditioning program. Coming off a three-win season, Linfield’s goal is a winning campaign.
Seven veterans return with experience. They are joined by nine first-year players, giving Enders a far deeper bench than last year’s club.
Linfield’s greatest strength is perhaps its midfield, where seniors Halee Helgerson and Rebecca Kropp initiate the attack while also lending support on defense. With a knack for winning draws, newcomer Brenna Allsop has been a strong addition. Sophomore Madilyn Bechtel and rookie Emma Sandaine should also make important contributions in the midfield.
With quick feet and accurate shots, senior Chas Tittle and junior Kelsey Dammarell will be counted on to supply the bulk of the scoring. Also competing for playing time on the attack are Maren Geesey, Savannah Smith, Angelica Martinez and Amber Kaholoaa.
Freshmen Margaret Lever and Maria Nelson are Linfield’s leading defenders. They are joined on the back line by Rebecca Kimball and Emily Sarich.
Goalkeeper Erika Phillipo, a three-year starter, is in the finest shape of her career and stands ready to defend the goal.
“Erika is having an awesome year so far,” said Enders. “We are eager to see what she can accomplish.”
Five teams – Linfield, George Fox, Puget Sound, Pacific and newcomer Whitman – comprise the NWC’s lacrosse-playing members. Identifying and attracting players with high school lacrosse experience has always been a challenge at Linfield, but Enders is using her club connections to enlist capable talent.
The five NWC programs face one another twice in a home-and-home format, complemented with a sprinkling of in-region and out-of-region NCAA Division III opponents. This spring, Linfield hosts teams from Indiana, California, Minnesota, Michigan and Colorado while traveling to Ohio for a three-match set during Spring Break. The benefit to such a diverse schedule should be improved play on the field.
“We are excited to face some good competition within the West region to continue to grow,” said Enders, a former lacrosse state champion at Portland’s St. Mary’s Academy. “Our Ohio games should be a particularly good test. We are playing three teams somewhat equal to us in skill level and some slightly above us, including some schools Linfield has never played before.”