Kessler finds new home at SBU

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Ryan Surmay

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Even though this season is different from previous, that doesn’t take away from the preparations Callie Kessler has made for the upcoming season. 

It’s not easy being an athlete during COVID-19, with schedules and practices constantly changing.  From the time she started playing, however, Kessler was always prepared for the big spotlight. That led her to where she is now, in her freshman year on the St. Bonaventure women’s lacrosse team.

“I started playing youth lacrosse in 2nd grade, and in 6th grade I started travel,” Kessler said. “Then I played club (lacrosse), which other coaches go to. We went to the ESPN Center in Florida, which was big to be seen by other coaches.”

When asked why she decided to come to Bona’s, the North Haven, Connecticut gave an answer that is familiar among the SBU community.

“I came on campus in January and right away it felt super homey,” she said. “Even through I’m so far, it feels like home is 10 minutes down the street because everyone is so welcoming. All coaches are so welcoming and have an open-door policy, so everyone is comfortable going to them.”

For some people, it’s a big adjustment to go from high school, where it’s obvious that a Division I athlete would be the best player on the field, to then go to a much more competitive league. 

Kessler said the speed of the collegiate game will be a challenging adjustment.

“Playing club, we got to play with some of the college rules,” she said. “It is going to be much faster and girls are much stronger, but I’ll get adjusted.” 

In this unique season, Kessler said she is most excited to learn to play with her new teammates, and learn how the collegiate schedule works.

While a significant knee injury has kept her out of practice and the team’s intra-squad scrimmage on Oct. 24, Kessler will look to return to her prior form and be a huge addition for her team over the next four years.  

Levesque, Johnson lead women’s lacrosse to best start in seven years

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The past three weeks have happened quickly for the St. Bonaventure women’s lacrosse team.

After announcing the hiring of a new head coach a week before its 2020 regular season opener, the team now has more wins than it had in the previous two seasons combined.

After Jason Levesque was hired on Feb. 7, a three-game win streak to open the season has given the Bonnies their best start since 2013.

“I think the biggest thing with coming in late like that was saying, hey, let’s have some fun,” Levesque said. “I think the girls have bought into a new mindset and have been hungry to win.”

SBU started the year with a 16-8 win at Hartford before edging Central Connecticut State, 10-9, on the road. The Bonnies then rolled by Kent State, 15-7, in their home opener.

“You have to learn how to win, just like you learn how to lose,” Levesque said. “If you get complacent, you become content with losing. We’ve tried to push them more to not be okay with that and help them understand that winning is tough, but at the same time we can have some fun.”

Senior midfielder Destinee Johnson has netted 12 goals and handed out six assists over the course of the young season. She scored 18 goals a year ago.

“The girls around me instill confidence in me,” Johnson said. “The seven of us playing as one on the attack is what has made our offensive so much more successful this year. Having that backup gives you that much more strength to go score a goal, or assist the next girl.”

The Bonnies have scored nearly 14 goals per game this year, and are tied for 13th-best in the nation with eight goals allowed per game.

Ashley Easterday has scored six goals for the Bonnies, while Nora Anderson has scored five goals.

“This has been everything we’ve worked for over the past four years,” Johnson said. “Having it come together is absolutely amazing.”

Levesque said that despite Bona’s offensive success, he thinks that his team could be scoring even more than it has.

“We want to keep the ball moving and be selfless,” Levesque said. “It doesn’t matter who scores the goals as long as St. Bonaventure scores them. If we share the ball and remain selfless, good things will happen.”

The Bonnies will play five more non-conference games before beginning Atlantic 10 play in late March.

“(A10) play will really show us where we’re at,” Levesque said. “The top end of our conference is very, very good. It will prove to be a strong challenge, and we’ll see where we need to be better.”

SBU will travel to the Carolinas next week, playing Wofford on Tuesday and Gardner Webb on Thursday.

Bona will not play at home again until March 14, when it takes on Butler.

“After last week’s game, I told the ladies that it’s only going to get harder from here,” Levesque said. “We need to make sure that we’re focusing game-by-game and preparing for that A10 schedule.”

Bonnies women’s lacrosse coach resigns

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

St. Bonaventure women’s lacrosse coach Ryan Lynn has resigned after four seasons with the team, he confirmed today.

Lynn informed the team last Monday that he was leaving his position. A search has immediately started for his replacement. Assistant coach Caitlin Formato resigned her position in September to take the head coaching job at Edinboro University.

Lynn, a Baldwinsville, N.Y. native, coached the team to an 11-51 overall record in his tenure, with a 1-28 record against Atlantic 10 conference opponents.

Lynn’s last day on the job will be Dec. 4. With the first game of the Bona lacrosse season just three months away (Feb. 20 at Delaware St.), he is currently making sure everything is set up for the next coach to ensure the program has a smooth transition.

Bonaventure will return 16 players from the young team it had last season, including top point-getters Mikayla Place, LeighAnn Stauffer and Mary Maestri. The program also welcomes five new freshmen into the fold.

Women’s lacrosse: Bonnies fall to Gaels in “home” game

By Elyse Breeze, @ElyseBreeze 

The St. Bonaventure women’s lacrosse team suffered a 12-5 loss to Iona College on Sunday at Alfred University’s Yunevich Stadium.

The odds were against the girls before they even stepped foot onto the field. Due to the conditions, they were forced to play on turf that was not their own. Despite this, the Bonnies went in strong during the first half with sophomore attack Mikayla Place tying up the game at 1-1. Her goal at Alfred marked Place’s eighth goal of the season. 

The Iona Gaels racked up most of their goals during the end of the first half with senior midfielder Nina Veneziale making four of the 7 goals. The Bonnies fought hard regardless of the score, and Lily Timlin, senior midfielder, scored back-to-back goals assisted by Gabrielle Bradley, bringing the score up to 7–3 by halftime.

Erin Pugh of the Gaels would score the first goal of the second half, however. And after 13 minutes of goal attempts, Mary Maestri scored and brought Bonaventure up to 4 goals and Iona with 8. Timlin added her third goal of the game for the Bonnies, scoring with only two minutes left, leaving the final score 12-5 in Iona’s favor.  

Other goals for the Gaels: Meghan Testoni, Katelyn Noschese, Bernadette Gennaro, and Mary Kate McCormick.

The Bonnies fall to 0-6 after the loss to Iona. Their next game will take place on Tuesday, March 25th at 4 p.m. against the Colgate Raiders.

 breezeen13@bonaventure.edu