Pitt Women's Lacrosse
Pitt Women’s Lacrosse Preview: Season Opener Against Duquesne
Pitt women’s lacrosse team has a lot of youthfulness, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be a force to be reckoned with in 2023. Pitt head coach Emily Boissonneault is looking for the program to take a substantial leap in its second year of existence. Pitt went 9-10 in their inaugural season and beat ACC foe Louisville twice.
“We are young. A lot of people are underestimating us because we graduated a lot of players and don’t have a lot of experience,” Pitt head coach Emily Boissonneault told Pittsburgh Sports Now on the day before the Panthers’ season opener against Duquesne on Saturday at Rooney Field. “That youth is going to bring a lot of power and fun to the team. We are inspired by this group of women and looking forward to showing everyone what we are working on.”
Pitt graduated 13 players from last year’s team and return only two starters — Abby Thorne and Brittany Villhauer, both of whom are defenders.
“We have some girls who played significant time last year and gained experienced. A lot of the girls are excited for their opportunity (on Saturday) against Duquesne,” Boissonneault said.
Pitt beat Duquesne, 9-8, in overtime last year at Highmark Stadium. Boissonneault is expecting another tough game from the Dukes this time around.
“We played them in overtime last year. They are a tough program,” Boissoneault said. “We are expecting the same thing. Despite the opponent, our team is just so excited to play someone else and see what we need to work on moving forward.”
With playing in the ACC, there are no gimmes for the Panthers. Every week is a challenge. Playing in the best conference in Division 1 women’s lacrosse is something that Boissoneault relishes. She wouldn’t want it any other way.
“It was pretty awesome competing in the ACC,” Boissonneault said. “We pride ourselves on playing in the toughest conference in the country. We know we belong and that first year built our confidence. We now know what to expect and are ready for the challenge.”
The Panthers will have the tough task of replacing All-ACC second-team goalie Paulina Diffatta, but Boissonneault is confident that graduate student transfer from Syracuse, Hanna Van Middelem, will be up for the challenge. Freshman Molly Cain is the backup goalie.
Lacrosse has been huge in Maryland and most of the East Coast for decades, but the sport has grown throughout the country over the last 15-20 years. Boissonneault has seen the sport grow in the Pittsburgh area and is hoping to build a prominent program that would attract recruits.
“Recruiting here has been really good. Emily Coughlin went to Oakland Catholic. Karina Latsko, who graduated last year went to Seneca Valley. We will continue to recruit in this area and provide a high level of lacrosse. We are trying to build it in Pittsburgh and provide an opportunity for these girls.”
Following their season opener against Duquesne on Saturday at 12 p.m. from Rooney Field, Pitt will travel to New York to face Binghamton on Feb. 16 and Sienna on Feb. 19. The Panthers’ home opener is on Saturday, Feb. 25 against Syracuse at Highmark Stadium. Faceoff is at 12 p.m.
Watched a special about these ladies on ACC Network. Will definitely be rooting for them from afar. Unfortunately I spend very little time watching TV sports this time of year. Still have young ones whom compete themselves 3-5 days a week.