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  • Aiden Locke

Brockport women's lacrosse season preview

By: Aiden Locke

BROCKPORT, NY --- The Brockport Golden Eagles women’s lacrosse team is entering a new era. Bryana Glasser is heading into her first season as the official head coach. She spent the 2023 season as the interim and has her team gearing up for their last run in the SUNYAC. Brockport had plenty of time over the fall and winter to introduce the new faces to the program during their prep for the new season.

“It’s going really, really well, a lot of things to learn and a lot of extra time to really install our fundamentals,” Glasser said. 

Cassidy Burnash driving from X during practice on Feb. 21 2024. Photo credit: Aiden Locke 89.1 The Point.

Last season the women’s lacrosse team saw a lot of changes with long time head coach Steve Wagner departing after having been the head coach since 2012. He had over 100 career wins. They also lost eight starters from the roster and are only returning seven total players from last year’s team. 11 first-years join the roster along with a junior and graduate transfer. 13 new faces brings the total roster size to 21 for Glasser’s second year at the helm.

Glasser had a tough challenge in front of her going into the 2023 season because she wasn’t able to bring in recruits. The intake of first-years for Brockport was limited due to the coaching change. After losing a large chunk of the roster, it put the Golden Eagles behind the 8-ball for 2023. Glasser was able to get the best out of a thin roster and got the Golden Eagles into the SUNYAC playoffs with a home game vs. New Paltz in round one. Brockport took care of business. They fell in the semi-finals to powerhouse Cortland, just a few days later.

Bryana Glasser addressing the team during practice on Feb. 21 2024. Photo credit: Aiden Locke 89.1 The Point.

“There’s a bar that we set and now we’re going to keep it there no matter what,” Glasser said. “We have a really tough schedule coming up in the spring, but it’s going to bode really well for us as we continue to grow and we continue to get better.”

The Golden Eagles are one of the youngest teams in the SUNYAC in 2024. That inexperience in certain areas could bring hiccups early in the season. The biggest news for the Golden Eagles is the return of attacker Cassidy Burnash, she had 47 goals paired with 37 assists. She was one of the premier offensive threats in the SUNYAC conference. She was selected to the All-SUNYAC first team in 2023. Burnash is currently 11th all-time in goals for the program. If she matches her 47 goals from 2023, she will climb to number four on the Golden Eagles all-time scoring list.

“It’s amazing right, it’s so great to have her on the attack,” Glasser said. “She knows the system and what’s expected and it will help with the transition with all of our new kids. She produces a lot of things for us on the field for us but her leadership is something we can’t even measure.”

Burnash is returning for her fifth year of eligibility as a graduate student.

“Having an opportunity because I missed out on some of my freshman and sophomore years because of COVID and just coming back to play again with this group of girls is exciting,” Burnash said.

A group of Golden Eagles during practice on Feb 21. 2024. Photo credit: Aiden Locke 89.1 The Point.

On the flip side, two significant losses will have to be swallowed. Midfielder Courtney Cunningham who was an All-Conference first team selection with Burnash is gone. Leaving with her is the most vocal leader they had last season, goaltender Erin Lant. 

A fresh recruiting class will give the Golden Eagles much needed depth that they simply didn’t have in 2023. Last year consisted of returners and walk ons. Now that Glasser has had a chance to bring in her own crop of players, it will be a true yardstick season for the program's potential under her leadership.  

“Everybody’s eager to learn, eager to get better, showing up with 110% effort and that’s all we can ask…we couldn’t be more excited about it,” Glasser said.

2023 served as a transition year for Brockport and Glasser. She came in, set her expectations and laid the foundations of the culture she wanted to build. Under these challenging circumstances, the Golden Eagles vastly out performed their expectations finishing the season 6-3 in SUNYAC play.

“It’s still a work in progress and I think as long as we all, including the staff, show up and give our best we’re going to move the dial a little bit further every day,” Glasser continued. “We just have to keep getting better every day and control the controllables and with that we’re in a position to compete.”

As this Golden Eagle team looks forward to the 2024 campaign they will have a lot of returning fire-power offensively. The previously mentioned Cassidy Burnash, Alayna Foos who had 39 goals in 2023 and Julia Quinlan who emerged in the middle of 2023 with 20 goals. All three were named team captains for 2024. 

“We all really split our leadership roles very equally last year,” Foos said. “It’s the same this year and we have more people to lean on.”

Alayna Foos in position to make a pass at practice on Feb. 21 2024. Photo credit: Aiden Locke 89.1 The Point.

To pair with them, two returners headline the defensive unit. Sophomore Journey Naab who took major leaps in development in 2023 and junior Devin Tietjen. They should supply experience and leadership to help some of the new faces in the locker room adjust to the program. Tietjen was also named as the defensive captain for 2024.

“Last year I was kind of shy and she was very patient with me,” Naab said. “She taught me how to be vocal and we got tighter as the season went on last year. Once I got more comfortable I feel like we really showed it on the field.”

The defensive unit had its ups and downs in 2023. It was a young group, all four were new starters and had never played together before going into the year. We saw that group continue to grow and find more and more chemistry as the year progressed. An encouraging sign even though the group will lose two starters for 2024 as Alex VanDerKar and Taylor Ford depart.

A potential concern for this Brockport unit in the preseason could be at the draw control line, with the losses of both primary draw control wingers in Courtney Cunningham and Taylor Ford. Alex VanDerKar was the teams first option to take the draw controls and with her departure, Julia Quinlan will presumably be bumped from the second option to the first option in that role. First-year Tristan Davis and junior Sarah Kilburn are also expected to be options on the draw this season.

Another question mark for this Golden Eagle team will be in the cage with an incoming first year getting the majority of the reps so far.

First-year goaltender Arianna Reed during practice on Feb. 21 2024. Photo credit: Aiden Locke 89.1 The Point.

“… we have a freshman in the cage,” Glasser said. “There’s going to be a lot of things that we have to look forward to and there’s a lot of growing pains that we’re going to go through and that’s okay. It’s all a part of the process,” Glasser said. 

The Golden Eagles scored 176 goals while allowing 177 goals. A lot of that scoring differential came from two out of conference games against No. 10 ranked at the time William Smith College and University of Rochester. Geneseo and Cortland also did damage to that total. They are teams that should have been beating that new look Brockport team in 2023. 

This team is being built on the little things and it showed on their stat sheet from 2023. They had a +35-ground ball differential (245-210), a +4-turnover differential (220-224) and an 81 clear percentage. 

One of Bryana Glasser’s favorite phrases she preaches to her team is “control the controllables” which is a unique way to say, just worry about what’s in front of you. She really harps on her team about putting in the effort on the fine details and hustle plays because, at the end of the day they mean the difference at the end of games. With this core philosophy, Glasser is building her program up from the bottom up and with time this Brockport team can become a force.

The Golden Eagles start their 2024 campaign at home on Feb. 23 against the University of Rochester. Brockport will start their season with seven non-conference games. These opponents are: Rochester, Clarkson University, Ithaca, RIT, Nazareth, St. Lawrence University and McDaniel College before they open SUNYAC play on Mar. 23 in Plattsburgh. The most intriguing of these matchups will be against Nazareth, this matchup will preview Brockport’s move to the Empire-8 in 2025. 

Nazareth beat Brockport 13-12 last year scoring the game winner with just 44 seconds remaining. 

2024 will be a pivotal building season, along with their SUNYAC farewell tour. Brockport was ranked third in the SUNYAC preseason coaches poll and will now look to dethrone the likes of Geneseo and Cortland in 2024.


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