GREENSBORO, N.C. – Guilford College’s women’s lacrosse team won its first five games for the first time in school history on the way to a 6-1 start. Shortly after a 1-1 spring-break trip to Clearwater, Florida, the remainder of the Quakers’ campaign was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coach Charlotte Dixon-Graves’ team relied on a solid group of veterans combined with a handful of newcomers who instantly provided meaningful minutes. Apart from an 18-5 setback to Swarthmore College, the Quakers were not overly tested and outscored opponents by an average of 13 goals per game in their six victories. Guilford tallied at least 16 goals in each win and limited all six opponents to nine or fewer goals. The Quakers ranked 18th among NCAA Division III schools and first in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference with a 9.71 scoring margin. Guilford’s 6.57 goals allowed per game led the league and stood 21st nationally.
Senior midfielder Madison Iandoli sparked the team not only with her scoring prowess, but also her draw-circle dominance. She led Guilford in points (34) and goals (23) with totals that stood second and third, respectively, in the ODAC. Her biggest contribution may have come in the midfield circle, however, as she ranked fifth in the nation with a league-high 9.86 draws per game. Iandoli’s ability to win the draw helped Guilford maintain possession and play more time on offense than defense. She had four games with 11 or more draws, including 16 in the Quakers’ win over Hiram College, which ranks second in school history. Iandoli’s career-high eight goals led to a nine-point showing in a rout of Methodist University and stand sixth in school history. The two-time Third Team All-ODAC pick leaves ranked among Guilford’s career-best in goals (130, 9th), assists (42, 9th), points (172, 6th), and draw controls (162, 5th).
With 30 points on 13 goals and a team-high 17 assists, junior attacker Audrey Helfenbein provided additional offensive support. She stood 12th nationally in assists with a total that stands 14th among Guilford’s season leaders, despite playing only seven games. Helfenbein’s five helpers in a February victory over the University of the South stand seventh in school history. She enters her senior season in fourth place among Guilford’s career assists leaders with 52.
Rookie attackers Reagan Bednar (16 goals) and Alli Earwood (12 goals) often benefitted from Helfenbein’s playmaking skills. The pair provided crucial scoring threats in addition to Iandoli and other midfielders, including junior Nia Gill (15 goals). Junior attacker McCaine Brandt contributed 11 points on six scores and five assists.
Senior midfielder Abigail Horchar was arguably in the midst of the finest of her four seasons with 24 points, 17 goals, 11 ground balls, and 10 caused turnovers. One of the team’s four seniors, Horchar received the conference’s lone individual lacrosse honor in 2020 with her selection as the ODAC/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Just the second Quaker so honored, the dean’s list chemistry major earned Guilford’s prestigious 2019 Dana Scholarship for academic excellence and leadership potential.
Fellow senior Cat Thresher (12 ground balls, 8 caused turnovers) led a relatively inexperienced defensive group and helped it develop into an effective unit. Gill, a two-way standout, forced over three turnovers per game, which led the league and ranked 36th nationally. She also shared team-high ground-ball honors with Iandoli. The trio of Grace Moore (12 ground balls, 5 caused turnovers), Megan Jones (7 ground balls), and Brooke Steeley (10 ground balls) also supported junior goaltender Kersten Daneau in her second season as the Quakers’ starter. Daneau’s 7.51 goals against average stood second in the ODAC and 28th nationally.
While seniors Horchar, Iandoli, Thresher, and Lauren Curtis (14 games, 2 points) will be missed, the Quakers could very well pick up where they left off next spring. Dixon-Graves may return as many as nine students who started at least five games for the 2021 season.