Stringing Sticks: Siena’s McNeely, Soures reach scoring milestones for women’s lacrosse

Siena’s Nicole McNeely handles the ball next to Columbia’s Leah Jones Saturday, February 22, 2020.

Siena’s Nicole McNeely handles the ball next to Columbia’s Leah Jones Saturday, February 22, 2020.

The Siena women’s lacrosse team has had two prolific scorers hit the century mark this season. Nicole McNeely and Mary Soures both reached the 100-career-goal mark in the Saints’ 4-5 season thus far, and McNeely is on the doorstep of becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer.

McNeely, a fifth-year attack, has 119 goals, tied with 2016 graduate Sarah Croutier for second and one behind all-time leader Lindsey Rosencrans, who graduated in 2009. She’s merely two points behind the program high of 180, set by 2011 graduate Caitlin Mikel. She’ll have a chance to set those marks Saturday, when the Saints host Iona in their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game of the season.

Soures, a senior midfielder, has 104 goals. 

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The fact that they’ve been able to reach the milestone when the last two seasons were reduced to seven games in 2020 and 14 in 2021 is impressive.

“Being able to score 100 career goals, regardless of an abbreviated schedule, is a really remarkable achievement, but especially with all the challenges posed by COVID the last two years; especially last year when it was so touch-and-go and we only played conference opponents,” Siena coach Abigail Rehfuss said.

McNeely reached the 100 mark against New Hampshire in the Feb. 12 season opener, while Soures hit 100 exactly with her last goal of the game in a victory over La Salle on March 19.

“Nicole has just this unique competitiveness to her,” Rehfuss said. “Her competitive spirit is really infectious and her emotional drive for the team is unmatched. Also, she’s shown she can attack from any part of the field, it doesn’t just have to be the X. In fact, the last few games, she’s run midfield for us.

“Mary is better than Mary knows,” Rehfuss added about Soures. “When Mary started here, we had to talk to her and almost give her permission to score because she’s such a selfless player. The fact that she had two five-goal games recently and they were kind of quiet speaks to her game. And she can do attack or midfield.”

McNeely leads the team in points, with 20 goals and 18 assists, while Soures has 19 goals for the season and one assist.

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Though the non-league games produced a sub-.500 overall record, the schedule had some heavy hitters in it, and both players said Siena stayed with them for the most part.

“We were in them for three out of four quarters,” McNeely said.

Because of that, Soures added, it will serve them well for the MAAC games. The Saints hope to finally win the elusive MAAC championship, having lost in the final in 2019 and 2021.

“Siena has been right there, but we just come up short the last two, so the third time’s the charm and we’re going to take it this year,” Soures said.

Soures also gave a plug for Rehfuss’ guidance of the team.

“I feel like the fact that there are only eight of us, and a lot of them have come in the last two or three years just shows how much coaching has benefitted us,” Soures said.

IMPORTANT GAME

The UAlbany men’s team (0-1 league, 1-5 overall) tries to rebound from a disappointing America East loss to Binghamton last Saturday when it hosts rival Stony Brook (1-0, 5-3) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bob Ford Field at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium.

Great Danes coach Scott Marr said the team has had a good week of practice and just been trying to focus on itself and improving what it already does well.

“We had a couple of minor tweaks to our defense,” Marr said. “I think we really simplified our defense this week. We just have to play a cleaner game. We just have to continue to grow. We have an older defense, but a younger offense. We just have to mix the two together and play a full game.”

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But it won’t be easy.

“They’re definitely a veteran group,” Marr said. “It’s probably one of the better Stony Brook teams I’ve seen, at least in the last five, six years. It’s a must-play-well game.”

THE HIGHS

Saint Rose’s five wins in men’s lacrosse are already the third-highest in program history. The 2018 team finished with nine wins, and the inaugural 2012 team had seven.

Saint Rose women’s attack Julia Lasher, a sophomore, had a career-high six assists in the Golden Knights’ 17-3 win over Saint Thomas Aquinas on Saturday.

Russell Sage sophomore Grace Hines (Schenectady/Guilderland H.S.) scored a career-high five goals in the Gators’ win over Castleton on Saturday.

ON THE LEADERBOARD

UAlbany sophomore midfielder Katie Pascale ranks first in the America East for assists, with 14 over seven games for an average of 2.0 per game. She’s also fifth in points per game with 4.43. 

Teammate Sarah Falk, a junior midfielder, also finds herself on the list, ranking fifth in goals per game with 3.14, and sixth in points per game with 4.14.

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NICE TRANSITION

Hudson Valley Community College freshman Willis Bickford (South Glens Falls) has scored five goals from his long-stick midfield/defenseman’s spot for the Vikings, who earned their first win of the season Tuesday in double-overtime against Herkiner, 12-11.

That’s nice enough on its own, but even more impressive considering Bickford was coming off being the high bowler for the Vikings at the NJCAA National Bowling Championships on March 5 in Lansing, Michigan. Bickford earned a top-20 finish with a 196.58 average over 12 games.

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