Women’s Lacrosse Loses to No. 1 Middlebury on Senior Day

Amherst women’s lacrosse took on undefeated national No. 1 Middlebury this weekend in their last regular season home game, celebrating their eight seniors and retiring head coach on Senior Day. The Panthers maintained their undefeated season in a hard-fought match against the Mammoths 15-7.

Fiona Jones '23 catches a pass against Middlebury. Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios.

A beautiful day on Pratt Field was the perfect time to celebrate the women’s lacrosse team’s eight seniors on their Senior Day and the Mammoths’ last home game with retiring coach Chris Paradis at the helm. However, a tough test stood in front of them: Amherst took on the Middlebury Panthers, who entered the game undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Middlebury started off strong with four straight goals to open the first quarter, before senior captain Becky Kendall ’22 broke through and scored her impressive 30th goal of the season. The Mammoths entered the second frame down 4-1.

Kendall’s tally did not stop the Panthers, who added three more goals to their total in the second quarter. The Mammoths responded by way of Fiona Jones ’23 and Lauren Friedman ’25, who added to the Mammoths’ total and reduced their deficit to a manageable 7-3 at the end of the half.

However, the Panthers’ scoring runs continued — they opened the second half scoring three goals in a 65-second span. Kendall again put one in the back of the net, and senior attacker Marina Bevacqua ’22 followed with one of her own, but the quarter ended with the score at 12-5 in favor of Middlebury.

The Mammoths held the Panthers to only three more goals in the fourth quarter, and scored two of their own: junior midfielder Sydney Larsen ’23 and Bevacqua both netted their 16th goals of the season to close out the scoring. It was too little too late, though, as the Mammoths lost by a score of 15-7.

The loss did nothing to overshadow the achievements of the team’s eight outstanding seniors and Coach Paradis, however.

After missing out on two seasons due to Covid, these seniors did not get the full four seasons of playing collegiate lacrosse that they expected. But in 2019, their first full season with the team, they reached the NESCAC tournament, advancing to the semifinals before losing to the Panthers. They also made an NCAA Tournament appearance during that year, earning a bye in the first round and making it to the Elite Eight before losing to No. 7 Salisbury by a single goal. These seniors are a special group, anchoring the team through two missed seasons, and playing in only their second full season of their college careers. It takes a specific type of leadership to helm such a young and inexperienced team, which they have done with grace.

And, they’ve savored every moment despite the hiccups. Kendall said, “Being part of the Amherst women’s lacrosse program has been one of the best parts of my Amherst experience. I’ve made some of my best friends through the program and have been able to play the sport I love with girls I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life. It has been so rewarding to be part of such a fun and supportive culture over my time at Amherst.”

This was also the final home game for Paradis, who is retiring after her 27th season with the team. During her time as head coach, Paradis has a compiled record of 294-109 overall, good for a .730 winning percentage, one of the best in the nation. She led Amherst to the program’s first national title in 2003, and has made 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, including six Final Four berths and a trio of national title games.

The Mammoths will play their final game of the regular season on the road at Trinity this Wednesday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m., as they look for a final win to gain momentum heading into the beginning of the NESCAC tournament this weekend.