ODU Women’s Lacrosse Has its Sight on Gold

This article first appeared in the spring 2022 Mace & Crown magazine issue. 


The Old Dominion women’s lacrosse team did not have a strong outing in the 2021 season and fell short of their expectations. Although it wasn’t the season they had in mind, they went into the offseason and worked at improving their game. Coming into the 2022 season, ODU head coach Heather Holt began her 11th season in charge of the lacrosse program. ODU finished 3-14 in 2021, but the Monarchs return three of their top four leading scorers from a season ago and a wealth of experience that also return. Senior attacker Lilly Siskind was a preseason all-conference selection and was the leading scorer for ODU in 2021 with 31 goals, 11 assists and a total 42 points. Along with her is graduate student attacker Claire Porter who was second on the team offensively as she tallied 15 goals, tied Siskind with 11 assists and registered a total 26 points. Also, senior midfielder Danielle Dundas also returned for the Lady Monarchs as she had 12 goals, six assists and a total of 18 points a season ago.


On the defensive side of the ball, senior midfielder Amber Stieve and junior midfielder Katie McGrain both combined for 33 starts in the 2021 season and led the backend of the field for the Lady Monarchs. Old Dominion played a three goalie rotation in 2021 and all three have returned this season. Sophomore Jenna Peccia made eight starts and led the team with 83 saves, junior Sabrina Leatherwood started five games and registered 46 saves and senior Brianna Blatter started in four contests between the pipes and made 55 saves.


The Lady Monarchs began their season with the first six matchups being against in-state universities. They opened up the season on the road as they traveled a couple hours north to take on the University of Richmond, which resulted in a loss as the Spiders won handily over Old Dominion 18-7. After the defeat, ODU returned to Norfolk for their home opener as they welcomed in VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University). Although the game was close, the Rams would pull away late and defeat the Lady Monarchs 11-9. Later that week, ODU had another home matchup against the University of Radford that turned out to be a game the Lady Monarchs would have control of most of the game. This resulted in their first victory of the season over Radford 20-11. 


Next up for Old Dominion was three games on the road with the first stop being in Williamsburg, VA as they faced William & Mary University. A flurry of goals from W&M in the third quarter resulted in another loss for the Lady Monarchs as they fell to the Tribe 18-11 and were 1-3 on the season. Although it wasn’t the ideal start that ODU had in mind, they wound up defeating Longwood University in their next matchup 15-6 in convincing fashion. In the last contest of the three-game road trip was a matchup in Lynchburg, VA with a good team in Liberty University. The Flames were too much to handle as they got by ODU 18-7 and inflicted another defeat on the Lady Monarchs. Old Dominion returned home to play Campbell University, but after a rally from ODU that fell short in the end, the Lady Monarchs fell 13-12 to Campbell. After back-to-back losses, ODU got back on the road and traveled up to Delaware to play Delaware State University. The Lady Monarchs found their groove throughout the entire matchup and trounced the Hornets 18-1 and their record stood at 3-5 with three non-conference games to go. 

Nicholas Clark

A few days after the victory, Old Dominion returned to Norfolk for a four-game home skid that started off with American University. The Lady Monarchs were not able to comeback after falling behind early on and lost the contest 17-13. In their next matchup, they played against Niagara University and the game was a back-and-forth affair that went into overtime. In the second overtime period, sophomore midfielder Corrine Stratton found the back of the cage to lift ODU over Niagara 18-17. After the thrilling victory, the Lady Monarchs had another contest with Howard University. Old Dominion got out to a huge lead that got up to a 19-0 advantage before Howard got on the board finally. ODU went on to win the contest 22-2 and earned back-to-back victories for the first time this season. In the last weekend of March, ODU had its last non-conference matchup as they hosted the University of Delaware. It was a contest that had multiple outbursts of goals from each side, but the Blue Hens prevailed with a goal in the final minute of regulation that earned them the victory over ODU 12-11. Although the Lady Monarchs dropped to 5-7 on the season, Peccia had a career-high 20 saves in the matchup, which is among the top goalkeeper performances in the NCAA thus far. 


Old Dominion may have not had the best non-conference record, but the games that really matter are conference matchups. The Lady Monarchs will begin their hunt for an American Conference Championship as they start off league play on the road at East Carolina University on April 2nd. They will play five conference games against Florida, Cincinnati, Vanderbilt and Temple University. Depending on how Old Dominion finishes in league play, the conference tournament will take place in the first week of May from the 5th-7th where the chance at a league championship and opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament are on the line as well. The Lady Monarchs have battled through a tough non-conference schedule and will continue to fight their way to conference gold and postseason play.