LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell head women’s lacrosse coach Randall Swope has announced the election of five captains for the 2017 season. Seniors Annie Gilbertson, Maddy Molinari and Lucia Smircich have been chosen as captains for a second straight year, while juniors Mary Margaret Kenney and Eve Lukowski will serve as captains for the first time.
This marks the second consecutive year the Bison have had a program record five captains. The three repeat captains equals the most the program has ever had.
“I am extremely proud of and excited for our captains this season,” commented Swope, who enters the sixth season of her second stint as Bucknell’s head coach. “They each bring their own unique leadership style and are able to reach, motivate, inspire and communicate effectively with every team member and the coaching staff. There is no doubt that this group is made up of some of the hardest working and committed players in the program, and the example they have set for not only their current teammates but also for future Bison, is proving to be unmatched.”
A two-year team captain, Gilbertson was a Second Team All-Patriot League defender last spring when she ranked second on the team with 31 ground balls and led the squad with 28 caused turnovers. Gilbertson has started all 35 games over the last two years and has played in 47 career contests.
“Annie is not only one of the hardest working players on the team, she is also one that keeps the culture healthy, fun and competitive,” praised Swope. “She has her finger on the pulse of the team, which obviously makes our lives as coaches a bit easier. Annie is highly respected by her teammates and coaches for her team commitment both off and on the field.”
Molinari enters her second season as team captain having piled up 76 goals, 38 assists and 114 points in her first three years as a Bison. The team’s leading scorer as a sophomore, Molinari started all 18 games at midfield last spring and posted career highs in goals (35), assists (20) and points (55). Molinari totaled a career-high nine points on four goals and five assists in a win over Army West Point last season, and she finished the campaign with 15 ground balls, 22 draw controls and seven caused turnovers.
“Maddy is one of the most dissatisfied players I have coached,” said Swope. “While others feel she has performed very well, she strives to do it better the next opportunity she is given. Maddy is a performance leader who is devoted to her teammates and it shows in her efforts in practice every day.”
Smircich continues in her captain role and is once again expected to be one of the top defenders on the team. The senior has played in all 50 games over the last three years and has totaled 81 ground balls and 59 caused turnovers. A Second Team All-Patriot League selection in 2014, Smircich ranked eighth in the conference in caused turnovers (22) last year.
“Lucia is the type of leader who isn’t going to let her teammates slack on their performance level,” commented Swope. “She holds everyone to a higher standard because she holds herself to a higher standard, and that is what makes buying in to her so easy.”
Kenney is a midfielder who has totaled 17 points on nine goals and eight assists during her first two years at Bucknell. She has added 33 ground balls, 21 draw controls and 13 caused turnovers in her 32 career games.
“Margs has impressed everyone with her consistent work ethic, combined with her caring and kind demeanor,” noted Swope. “She is the calm in the middle of the storm, reassuring her teammates to never give up. She is the team ‘mom’, offering comfort, yet pushing her teammates out of their comfort zone when necessary.”
A junior attack, Lukowski has piled up 38 goals, 40 assists and 78 points in just two seasons. The 2016 Patriot League Women’s Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year, she became just the second player in program history to record at least 30 goals and 30 assists in the same year last spring. Her 65 points were second-most in program history, while her 32 assists ranked No. 3 on Bucknell’s single-season list.
“Eve, like Margs, was a perfect fit as a junior for a leadership role going into this year,” said Swope. “She battled fatigue issues her entire freshman year and was determined to come back stronger than ever once she recovered, and she did just that. Eve has taken a much more vocal leadership role and her teammates now rely on her every practice and every game.”
Bucknell opens its season Feb. 4 at home against Robert Morris at 3 p.m. The Bison will play four of their first six games at Graham Field.