OWU lacrosse gains new coach for the 2019 season

Updated Feb. 1, 2019 and Feb. 28, 2019

By Erin Ross

Staff Reporter


Ohio Wesleyan University announced the promotion of the assistant women’s lacrosse coach on Monday.

OWU athletics director Doug Zipp was faced with finding a new coach for the women’s lacrosse team after Coach Chelsea Conley resigned from her position on January 3. Zipp explained the reasoning behind Conley’s resignation.

“The decision to step away is for family and personal reasons along with a great opportunity to pursue an exciting new career opportunity outside of athletics,” Zipp said.

On Monday, January 21 Zipp announced the promotion of Assistant Coach Patricia Ryan (’16) to interim head coach for the 2019 season. Ryan is an OWU women’s lacrosse alumna who is serving her second season as a coach for the women’s lacrosse team. Her commitment to the team and passion for the sport played a role in her promotion.

“The reason she was promoted is she has demonstrated leadership, initiative and passion for the program and for our student-athletes and that will go a long way and will push our program forward for this season,” Zipp said.

Despite being saddened by the loss of their head coach, members of the OWU women’s lacrosse team wished Conley the best and have remained optimistic about the upcoming season.

Junior midfielder Sloane Baumgartner said, “The team has taken the change very well and has a positive outlook on the season. We all had some insight that Coach Conley was going to leave. Therefore, having Coach Ryan step in was the best thing to advance the program.”

Ryan herself is eager to lead the team this season and looks forward to being able to try out new practice drills.

“I think implementing some new things and critiquing and working on the old will be exciting,” Ryan said.

Despite limited time to fill the position, Zipp is also happy about the decision to promote Ryan.

“We are excited that Patricia has agreed to take on this role just a few weeks before the start of the season,” Zipp said. “She has already embraced the role, has had team meetings with the players and is continuing to prepare for the season as well as finishing the recruiting for the Fall class of 2019.”

Ryan’s experience as both a student and a coach at OWU has encouraged optimism and fostered enthusiasm among the athletes.

Sophomore goalie Rachel Albers said, “I am looking forward to the energy that Patricia will provide for the team. She is super dedicated to the game and I look forward to learning from her experience as a former player and an OWU alumna.”

Baumgartner, 3-year member of the women’s lacrosse team, agreed with Albers.

“The team is very excited to have Patricia Ryan step into the head coaching role because she understands what it takes to be a student athlete,” Baumgartner said. “Being an alumna, she knows how to push us on the field and in the classroom at Ohio Wesleyan.”

Ryan also recognizes the chemistry that she has with her athletes and the ways in which her alumni status plays a positive role in such chemistry.

“I think it is easy for me to connect to them being that I’ve been in their place not too long ago,” Ryan said. “I like to think I really understand the importance of being a Division III athlete and all that comes with being a student athlete.”

Ryan also deems herself fortunate and is grateful for the help she has received from the athletics department.

“I think that there is a lot of knowledge in the department, so I will be looking to other coaches a lot for help,” Ryan said.

At the end of the 2019 season Ohio Wesleyan will begin a national search for a new head coach, Zipp said.

“Our women’s lacrosse program has a lot of potential and it is important that we now look nationally for the best person to lead our program into the future,” Zipp said.

Tough loss brings experience for freshman goalie

By Jalen Daoust, Transcript Correspondent

The men’s lacrosse team lost 12-11 against the top-five ranked Tigers in a shootout that went into overtime while also giving one freshman some well needed experience.

The Ohio Wesleyan Lacrosse men’s team started the season Feb. 18. They would play their first game against Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) who are currently ranked #2 according to usila.org’s coaches poll.

Between performances by young freshmen talent, and leadership from the returners on the team put up a fight and set the tone for the rest of the season.

The Bishops went down 5-0 to RIT in the beginning minutes of the game. With the home field advantage, they didn’t give up and fought back to force the game into overtime.

“Going down 5 goal was nerve-wracking, but a senior came over and told me to calm down and I got comfortable and goal,” said freshman goalkeeper Joey Sichenzia.

Leadership by returning starters Max Tennant, who finished the game with three goals, and junior Trent Schulte, who had the first goal to start the Bishop’s came back, the team rallied and put up a fight. After a few big hits, and a couple goals, they found the back of the RIT net. It was time for the freshmen to show what they’ll be bringing to the table this year.

One of the biggest freshmen additions to the team this year is Sichenzia who has started all three games for the Bishops this season and his best game was his first ever collegiate match against RIT.

Although he let in five quick goals he then followed that up with nine saves. Which is tied for the most saves in an opening game since records have started being kept here at OWU.

There is high hopes from Sichenzia this season as he has been solid in goal since the first 12-11 overtime loss to RIT. Sichenzia has a lot of confidence going forward after the first loss.

“Even though we lost still had a lot fun and still made a statement that we are not a team to mess with. Although these big teams are definitely no joke…neither are we,” said Sichenzia.

The Bishops have a chance to do big things in both the NCAC and in the NCAA tournament this year if they can keep up their fierce play. As more freshmen continue to step up into roles on the team they will just become stronger.

The returners on the team will continue to bring leadership and teach the freshmen the winning culture of being a Bishop’s this season. They are currently at ranked #13 according to the week 2 coaches poll on usila.org.

Bishops experience wins, losses and new places

Freshman Kelsey Bowling rushes to defend a Capital attacker in a recent loss to the Crusaders. Photo by Leia Mizas.
Freshman Kelsey Bowling rushes to defend a Capital attacker in a recent loss to the Crusaders. Photo by Leia Mizas.

Olivia Lease, Online Editor

A bittersweet feeling was left on the field on March 19 as Ohio Wesleyan’s women’s lacrosse team rallied against Capital, but was ultimately defeated in the last quarter. At Oberlin, the men’s lacrosse team took home another win.

Both teams had the opportunity to travel over spring break: the women’s team to San Juan, Puerto Rico, while the men’s team went to Maryland.

Clouds blocked out the sun and a chilly wind kept spectators at Selby Stadium alert as the women’s game played.

Capital, ahead by 4 points at the start of the third quarter, made it a difficult match.

“The game against Capital was a tough loss since the score was so close, but everyone on the team gave it their all which is all that matters,” said freshman Sofia Corrao. She contributed 2 assists and scored 2 goals by the end of the game.

Sophomore Cory Anna Kinder Kinder led the Bishops with 3 goals.

Head Coach Chelsea Huguenard said, “Our goalkeeping from both Natalie [Reddy] and Kelly [Coffyn] kept us in the game.  Our second half we played much better on the offensive end, but it was just not enough.” The final score was 13-11.

Meanwhile, at Oberlin, the men’s lacrosse team won their game with a final score of 19-9.

The Bishops had an 11-0 run to start the game. Within the first minute of the game, freshman Jack Harvey scored a goal, giving the Bishops a nice lead.

Freshman Max Tennant led the Bishops with 4 goals and an assist. Junior Ben Rigger was credited with 8 saves.

Both teams had the opportunity to compete as well as grow closer as a team as they travelled to new places during spring break.

The women’s team traveled to Puerto Rico together which brought new challenges, Coach Huguenard said.

Huguenard said the area was beautiful but, “The heat was a new obstacle we have not dealt with this season, and also the competition was fierce.”

The team played two games, one against Oneonta State and one against Roanoke. The Bishops lost both games.

Senior Patricia Ryan said she was proud of how her team performed. “You only get better when you go up against competition like that.”

Coming back to OWU, the team had no time to relax. They played two games and finally got a break this past Sunday.

“It’s been very exhausting, but this team is motivated,” Huguenard said.

In Maryland, the men’s team played two games as well, one against Salisbury which was a close loss of 12-13 and another against Messiah, which the Bishops won 17-3.

The women’s lacrosse team played next at Muskingum on March 23 at 7 p.m. The men’s lacrosse team plays next on March 26 at 1 p.m. against Kenyon in Selby Stadium.

Men’s lacrosse hopes for another promising season

David Fradkin, Transcript Reporter

Ohio Wesleyan men’s lacrosse team is coming off one of their best seasons in the program’s history in 2015. This year, they are ranked 11th in the preseason USILA Division III coaching polls for the upcoming season.

The Battling Bishops finished with an overall record of 18-1. They lost to Gettysburg in the quarterfinal of the Division III NCAA tournament.

The Bishops won the NCAC conference and recorded their first undefeated regular season finishing 14-0.

Freshmen, Steven Hildebrand (left) and Jack Harvey (right) warm up during a practice. Photo by Leia Miza.
Freshmen, Steven Hildebrand (left) and Jack Harvey (right) warm up during a practice. Photo by Leia Miza.

A total of nine OWU seniors are returning from last year’s team, one of which is senior captain and defender Jordan Carlson.

“I know that we can be as good if not better this year. We have a lot of guys from last year’s team [who] were contributing to our success,” Carlson said.

The team is looking to recover after losing 10 seniors who were major contributors to last year’s team, including some who were All-American and All-Conference players. But Carlson said he was optimistic that the incoming freshman class can fill that void.

“This year’s freshman class is very talented and a lot of them are going to be playing for us at some point this season,” Carlson said.

Players express their excitement for the season to begin when they play Augustana College on Feb. 20 at home in Selby Stadium. The next game will be on the road at Otterbein on Feb. 24.

“The team’s goals for this year are the same as they are every year,” said junior defenseman Justin Smith. “We want to win the NCAC regular season, win the NCAC tournament, make the NCAA National Tournament and win a National Championship.”

This year, the team will have six coaches. Head Coach Mike Plantholt returned along with assistants Trey Keeley and Jesse Lawrence.

Joining the coaching staff is Keith Long, Ryan Sullivan and Tommy Minkler. Minkler was a senior and starting captain on last year’s team.

Confidence leads to success on field

The men's lacrosse team celebrates together. Photo courtesy of battlingbishops.com.
The men’s lacrosse team celebrates together. Photo courtesy of battlingbishops.com.

Confidence is one of the reasons the Ohio Wesleyan men’s lacrosse team is seeing more wins this season compared to last season.

This season, the team has been ranked number seven in the nation among other division three schools, coach Mike Plantholt said.

Three of the team’s ten seniors are scoring a high amount of goals compared to last season.

Senior Kyle Foster said another reason the team has been so successful is the addition of assistant coach Trey Keeley.

“Coach Keeley’s main suggestion is to play fast,” said Foster. “But a lot of our success has been building off last year’s success.”

Plantholt said the team only lost three seniors at the end of last season, so mostly everyone returned.

“With such a huge senior class, we have a highly experienced team that has been here all four years,” senior Brenden Bouchard said. “When you have the majority of your starting offense, it’s kind of easy to just build off what you’ve already got.”

Bouchard and Foster said they think the team has been so successful this season is because of the new coaching staff, combined with a large amount of seniors on the team.

“We were a very talented team last year,” Bouchard said. “But we weren’t having the success that we are having this season. If you look at our record and the teams that we were playing, we were losing by one goal. We were losing to these very competitive top ten teams that we’ve had, but I think now you will see that we are just winning those games.”

Senior attacker Tommy Winkler seizes up his opponents. Photo courtesy of battlingbishops.com.
Senior attacker Tommy Winkler seizes up his opponents. Photo courtesy of battlingbishops.com.

Winning games translates to confidence on the field, which then results in more wins.

“Once you start to see success, you can feel it in the locker room now, you can feel the energy, people are excited to be at practice, people want to get better,” Foster said.

Senior John Umbach said this confidence stems from the team’s first big game of the season.

“After that first big game of the season, the [Franklin and Marshal] game, what we did there in third quarter,” Umbach said. “When we saw we had eight goals in one quarter, I mean, John had five goals in the span of two minutes, that’s when people started realizing what we had and what we were capable of doing.”

“The confidence started to build off of that, and in the Roanoke game we saw what we could do in four quarters of lacrosse, and that’s when we started to realize that when we put in four quarters of good lacrosse then we could start doing some damage to these other teams,” Umbach added.

“Psychologically, I think it’s nice to see yourself beating those teams cause then you know you can beat them, as opposed to trying to convince yourself in your head that you can beat them,” Foster said.

Bouchard said the team isn’t always confident.

“You definitely get nervous before those big games, because there is nothing like playing a top ranked opponent,” Bouchard said. “But it’s a number that gets put on their back, it’s a giant, all of a sudden, so it’s natural for an athlete to get nervous before those games, but after winning that game, I think everybody is excited at the opportunity to maybe just demoralize or smash another opponent. Now you are on the other side of it. You know, you are now no longer the underdog.”

Seniors guide men’s lacrosse into another hopeful season

Men's lacrosse team in a huddle.
Men’s lacrosse team in a huddle.

After a successful 2014 season, the Ohio Wesleyan men’s lacrosse team is looking to build off of experience and momentum.

The team went 12-4 last year, finishing second in the NCAC behind Denison University. OWU is returning a total of 10 seniors from that team.

Senior Kyle Foster. Photo courtesy of the battling bishops website.
Senior Kyle Foster. Photo courtesy of the battling bishops website.

One of those seniors is captain and midfielder Kyle Foster.

“We’re optimistic about the season, we know what we need to accomplish,” Foster said.

Foster was named to the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division III All-America team as an honorable mention last season. Battling Bishop goalkeeper Ryan McMahon, who is also a returning senior, was named as an honorable mention as well.

“Personal accolades are nice but at the end of the day that’s not why you play, you play for the guy next to you,” Foster said.

OWU opens the season with a home game on Feb. 14 against Augustana College at Selby Stadium. A week later the team will go on to play Roanoke College in Virginia.

Senior Tommy Minkler. Photo courtesy of the battling bishops website.
Senior Tommy Minkler. Photo courtesy of the battling bishops website.

The Battling Bishops are looking to take it one game at a time, but it is hard for them not to have their sights set on surpassing Denison and the NCAC championship.

“For us to win the NCAC this year, we are going to have to maintain a level of consistent play that we have never had here before, which means that we cannot afford to take any days off,” said senior attacker Tommy Minkler.

Until the opening game against Augustana, the Battling Bishops will continue to practice out in the cold and brave the winter climate of Ohio.

“Every day, our goal is to improve from the day before,” Minkler said. “If we have that mentality all season long the team will be very successful in the NCAC and NCAA.”

Bishops lacrosse captain to go pro with Ohio Machine


Ohio Wesleyan senior midfielder Spencer Schnell’s dream of playing professional lacrosse was realized when he was drafted by Major League Lacrosse’s Ohio Machine on Jan. 10.

Schnell said being drafted as the first pick of the eighth round and 57th overall was a humbling experience.

“I was very excited to hear I had gotten drafted, as was my family,” he said. “It had always been a goal of mine throughout my playing career, and it’s very humbling to be mentioned alongside some of the best players in the country.”

Schnell was a 2013 first team All-American and second team All-NCAC selection who totaled 28 goals and 14 assists.

Ohio Machine Coach Bear Davis said Schnell is a strong athlete who has the ability to add depth at multiple positions.

The Machine’s 2-12 record in 2013 got them the first overall pick, used on Princeton senior Tom Schreiber. Syracuse University senior Scott Loy, who was taken 27th overall, is also an Ohio native. Davis said Ohio is producing quality lacrosse players.

“We take great pride in researching all available players from the great state of Ohio,” he said. “Spencer and Scott both came highly recommended, and the fact that they hail from the buckeye state is a major bonus.”

Last April, Schnell’s older sister Sloan died in a fire at Dublin apartment. The death came at hectic time for the Schnells, as Spencer prepared for the lacrosse team’s last four NCAC games that would decide tournament qualifications. Schnell said last season was in tribute to Sloan.

“(It) was very tough on me, but I was able to use lacrosse as kind of an escape,” he said. “For a few hours a day, lacrosse is the only thing on my mind. She was always incredibly supportive of my career, so it’s added some extra motivation for me to work hard.”

Currently, Schnell’s main priority is the Bishops’ upcoming season. The lacrosse program lost six seniors last year, four of whom were All-NCAC selections. One of the three current seniors, Stephen Coyne, said Coach Mike Plantholt has been developing a winning formula for the team and the players individually since his hiring.

“Coach Plantholt has been great over the past few years,” Coyne said. “He helped me accelerate my game as a freshman when I needed to step up, and he has continued to develop me as a player and as a person.”

The Bishops went 13-6 overall last season, earning a 6-1 record in the NCAC and winning the championship. The team lost in the first round of the NCAA D-III lacrosse tournament. Junior Tommy Minkler said the team has been preparing to repeat as NCAC champions.

“We have the potential to be a very dangerous team with a lot of threats on both ends of the field,” he said. “Our offense is forming great chemistry and some younger guys are really stepping up. “

Schnell will look to cap off a successful career by avenging their first round loss in the NCAA tournament. The team begins their season at Mount St. Joseph Feb. 19.