Then and Now: William Smith Lacrosse

In 1988, William Smith lacrosse was on top of its game. The 33 women were the first Heron lacrosse players to make it to the NCAA National Championship game since the program’s founding 16 years prior, paving the way for their own glory in the dawn of women’s college sports. Thirty years and five NCAA championship game appearances later, we take a look at what it took to build a team.

WS Lax 1988


Players: 33

Coach: Pat Genovese P’01, P’03, P’05, P’08

Ranking: No. 2 in Division III

Top Players: Heather Dwinnell Collins ’90 with 73 goals for a season record; GK Susan Stuart-Elliott ’89 9.32 GAA, .609 SV%, 15-3 W-L.

Record: 15-3 overall

Memorable moment: In the state championship game, William Smith secured a nail-biting 14-13 victory over St. Lawrence. The Herons rallied from an 8-6 halftime deficit to take a 12-10 lead. The Saints pulled even at 13-all with three minutes remaining, but tournament MVP Karen Carpenter Gray ’88, P’19, P’22 scored with just 92 seconds left.

Most popular majors at graduation: English, sociology and psychology

Average GPA: Records don’t go back that far. Community Service: Geneva youth sports programs, the HWS Phonathon, the Lake Race and Tour for United Way

Uniform: Plaid skirts and heavy cotton polo jerseys. Leg-warmers optional.

Notable outcomes: Melissa Crowley Price ’91, Heather Dwinnell Collins ’90, Moira Lewis Leavitt ’88, Kathleen Odomirok-Hoffman ’89 and Susan Stuart- Elliott ’89 now coach teams of their own.

WS Lax 1918


Players: 29

Coach: Anne Phillips

Ranking: As high as No. 5 in the IWLCA Division III poll.

Top Players: Melissa Moore ’18 with 50 goals; GK Jules Kennedy 6.79 GAA, .510 SV%, 12-3 W-L.

Record: 15-5 overall

Memorable moment: Trailing No. 14 Ithaca with less than seven minutes to go, Melissa Moore ’18 scored back-to-back goals to tie the game and Sarah Benyo ’18 netted the game-winner with less than 90 seconds remaining. The win was key to clinching the No. 1 seed in the Liberty League Tournament, which William Smith went on to win for the third straight year.

Most popular majors: To be decided. With nearly half of players beginning their sophomore year this fall, the interests of William Smith lacrosse range from international relations to biology and dance.

Average GPA: 3.46

Community service: Days of Service, drives for hurricane relief for the citizens of Texas and Puerto Rico

Uniform: Major brand lacrosse skirts with breathable, wicking fabric jerseys. Spandex leggings.

Notable outcomes: Athletes have interned at the U.S. Senate, studied across the globe and secured the coveted Charles H. Salisbury Summer International Internship Stipend. Sarah Benyo ’18 started medical school at Penn State College of Medicine this fall.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.