Lacrosse Teams Starts Conference in the Right Direction


Freshman midfielder Clara Welch brings the ball into the offensive zone in transition. PHOTO // CHAD HALL

Chloe Spradlin, Staff Writer

The Piedmont lacrosse teams started their seasons at the beginning of the semester, but the real test started on March 18th, as both the men’s and women’s teams rolled into conference play.

Both lacrosse teams remain in the USA South conference and played high-quality teams in their regular season games prior to the conference. Prior to the start of the regular season, the women were ranked fourth by the USA South preseason coaches poll, and the men were ranked third. In the first half of the season, both teams started 4-4.

The women traveled far and wide to get ready for conference. They played teams like Centre College, Warren Wilson College, Otterbein University and Alvernia University in states as far as Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida. This traveling was for playing high-quality teams and building team chemistry.

“I think the time spent together really has helped because it’s good to get to know players off the field and not just on the field. I feel like we have really good chemistry because of it,” said breakout sophomore transfer Ava Trankina.

One of many highlights from the conference games was freshman Clara Welch earning the USA South Rookie of the Week honor three times. Welch’s 27 goals have her tied for first on the team with Trankina.

To prepare for conference, the men included teams from the Old Dominion Athletic Conference in their schedule. The ODAC has been described by many to be the best conference in NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse. Although the men’s team only won one of their games against ODAC teams, senior face-off specialist Chris Pannenbacker acknowledged how important those games were.

Pannenbacker said: “I like getting those good teams out of the way in the beginning. When it sets us up for our conference, we’re able to take care of what needs to be done. Handle the ball, put it in the back of the net and beat the teams that we need to beat.”

The first of Saturday’s conference contests saw the women shut out Greensboro College 21-0 in one of the most dominant games in program history. The blowout victory saw 12 different Lions get on the scoreboard. Sophomore Merryn Bumpass reached the 100-point club for Piedmont and Trankina earned the USA South Defensive Player of the Week.

“I feel like a lot of my motivation comes from my teammates because it’s not just a solo thing. My teammates are the ones that help me get to where I am now,” said Trankina.

The women will play their next game Saturday, Mar. 25th at 12 p.m., in a conference matchup at home against Southern Virginia University. This is a can’t-miss game, as SVU was ranked second in the USA South Conference preseason poll.

The men took the field following the women against Methodist University, winning 17-11. This game saw a much more competitive affair than the first of the afternoon’s doubleheader. The first half was back and forth with Methodist leading early, but Piedmont stormed back to take the lead into halftime. After the break, Piedmont scored five unanswered and never looked back.

“We had a really good win. We’re starting to come together and play as a team and as the group of guys that we know we are and we can be,” said Pannenbacker. 

Bumpass wasn’t the only player to reach 100 points on the weekend. Junior Brady McGuire recorded a season-high four goals and five assists against Methodist. That was enough to make McGuire the ninth player in Piedmont men’s lacrosse history to reach the 100-point club.

The men will play their next game away from home this Friday in a conference matchup at William Peace University at 3:30 p.m.

To continue supporting the Piedmont men’s and women’s lacrosse teams throughout this season, find their schedules on the Piedmont athletics website.