By Mary Patalita
Special to GoHolyCross.com
It is hard to win a championship at any level, let alone back-to-back championships. During the 2006 and 2007 seasons, the women's lacrosse team won two Patriot League championships. The 2006 team made history earning the program's first ever Patriot League Tournament championship. Then the Crusaders clinched their first ever bid to the NCAA Tournament by posting a win in the NCAA Play-in game. The 2006 team holds the school record with 14 victories. The 2007 team then continued the Crusaders' dominance by winning their second straight championship and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. The Crusaders went a perfect 11-0 in Patriot League games over this two-year period.
The teams credit their successes on the field to their teammates, families and the Holy Cross community. Now, 10 years later the team still feels close and united.
The determination and hard work of the 2006 and 2007 teams were key to their success on the field. “We were successful because we challenged one another, trusted one another and fought like hell for one another,” said Patricia Sutton. “No one wanted to lose because you knew you would be letting down the person next to you, we played for each other. The bonds that formed on the field are ones that we will cherish and take with us for the rest of our lives.”
Looking back, the team remembers the support of the Holy Cross community and how integral it was to the team's success. “The greatest thing about Holy Cross was it didn't matter which team you were on or if you were on a team, we were all on team Holy Cross and all supported one another,” said Megan Orr. “We wanted to win just as much as we wanted the field hockey team to win or the men's lacrosse team or the soccer teams and vice versa. A championship for any team was a championship for Holy Cross. The support of the Holy Cross community made us a championship team.”
Not only did winning the Patriot League championship give the team ultimate bragging rights, but also it allowed them to represent Holy Cross on a national stage in the NCAA Tournament. During the first championship season, “we overcame a four-goal deficit at halftime to beat our archrival Colgate and win the program's first-ever league championship, boy did that feel good,” said Carolyn Smirti. The team beat LeMoyne in a play-in game, and learned they would be flying to Durham, N.C., to face the No. 1 seed Duke in the Sweet 16. “What an experience that was, we felt like celebs driving the Silver Fox right onto the tarmac to board our chartered plane, but the excitement got the best of us and we did not have our best game against Duke – we played scared,” said Smirti.
The next season, in 2007, the Holy Cross women's lacrosse team was back and wanted not only to repeat as champions but also wanted redemption in the NCAA Tournament. “That year we beat American 12-8 on our home turf to become ‘Back 2 Back' champions,” said Smirti. “We flew out to Evanston, Ill. to take on #1 seed, and two-time reigning NCAA champions, Northwestern on their beautiful lakeside turf. Boy did we give them a game – unlike the previous year we played like we knew we could, and like we had nothing to lose. Despite holding them scoreless for 10 minutes, in the end we lost 19-7, but we walked off that field with our heads held high, because we had played our game and left it all out on the field.”
The team mottos during the two championship years characterized their successes. In 2006 the motto was “One.” “We were one unit, one system where everyone did their part,” said Darcy Wolcott. “In 2007 the motto was ‘don't talk about it, be about it' We were all committed to the same goal and we trusted one another with no hesitation. We were a team on and off the field, we were best friends then and even 10 years later now we realize nothing has changed, we are teammates for life.”
On April 8, 2017 the team was honored at halftime of the women's lacrosse home game against Loyola Maryland. Following later that night, there was a reception in the Loyola ballroom with the two championship teams, the current team and their families. The event was inspiring for the current team to hear about the successes of the alumni. “It was really cool to see how close the alumni still are,” said current junior Anna Tanji. “I think that's something special about the Holy Cross women's lacrosse program, it has always been more than just a team but a family.”
The achievements of these two teams are goals that the current team are looking to accomplish. “The 2006 and 2007 championship teams hold a special place in Holy Cross athletic history,” said second-year head coach Amanda Belichick. “Connecting with the members of both teams and hearing the stories from those two seasons was a special event for our current team. The journey they took on their way to the Patriot League championship inspired everyone in the room and connected the current players to the tradition and legacy of the program. Winning back-to-back championships is so special and we are so proud of the members of those teams and grateful to be a part of the women's lacrosse program at Holy Cross.”
The accomplishments of the 2006 and 2007 women's lacrosse teams are remarkable and their achievements are a hallmark that current student-athletes look to emulate. Ten years later, the team remembers the successes on the field but also fondly reminisce on times they spent together off the field. It is these relationships that have lasted well after their time in purple and white.
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