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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Women’s lacrosse gearing up for inaugural season

Courtesy of Carolynn Keal
Suffolk University’s women’s lacrosse team will play its home games at East Boston Memorial Park.

When Carolynn Keal saw that Suffolk University had an opening for a women’s lacrosse head coach, she knew she had to jump at the chance.

Originally from Southington, Connecticut, Keal was looking for a return to New England. With the chance to build a lacrosse program from the ground up, Keal joined Suffolk and is in the process of assembling the university’s inaugural women’s lacrosse team.

“To have the opportunity to build something from the ground up was huge,” said Keal. “Rather than coming in and taking over someone else’s work. I have the opportunity to start it the way we want and build our culture from day one.”

Keal played Division II lacrosse in college, playing for the Southern Connecticut State University Owls. She graduated as the school record holder in assists, ground balls and caused turnovers. She was a graduate assistant at New England College before going to Willamette University.

With a donation from Michael and Larry Smith, Suffolk Athletics was able to fund the creation of the women’s lacrosse team. Athletic director Cary McConnell said various factors led to women’s lacrosse being the new varsity program at Suffolk.

“It seemed to be one that would be an excellent fit at Suffolk from an admissions standpoint and who we could attract. Not only that, but also what’s sponsored in our conference already and is competitive in our conference,” said McConnell. “For us, because we’re a unique institution being urban, there’s field considerations for what we can add. Certain things we can’t add given our limitations with fields, this is one that seemed to work.”

Keal joined Suffolk after spending the last two seasons at Willamette in Salem, Oregon. She was hired in 2022 as an assistant coach before becoming an associate head coach in 2023.

With Keal building a completely new roster, she’s looking for prospective recruits to have the same enthusiasm about being part of a new program she does.

“I think most importantly when building a program, having people who are excited about that is really important,” said Keal. “If I’m on a phone call with someone and they’re not really excited about the opportunity of building something from the ground up, getting their name in the history books and being part of all of our firsts then it’s probably not the right fit.”

Keal didn’t take time to settle into her new job before starting the recruiting process. While driving across the country from Oregon to Boston, she stopped at a lacrosse tournament in Delaware and went to another in Amherst, Massachusetts before arriving in the city.

What else is she looking for besides the enthusiasm about being a part of a new program? Competitiveness.

“We’re not gonna come out of the gate and win all of our games by 20 points, we need to push for it. We need to work hard,” said Keal. “Having that competitive edge and having that ability to know that we’re gonna face adversity from the get-go is important. Identifying those challenges but being excited about those challenges is huge.”

The women’s lacrosse team will play their first game in the spring of 2025. Their home games will be at East Boston Memorial Park, joining the men’s and women’s soccer teams along with the baseball and softball teams to play their home games at the park.

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About the Contributor
Michael Najarian
Michael Najarian, Sports Editor | he/him
Michael is a sophomore print/web journalism major from Framingham, Massachusetts. He’s also a member of the Cross Country and Track & Field teams. Outside of running and writing for the Journal, Michael is an avid Boston sports fan who will be seen watching sports quite frequently. After graduation, Michael is looking for a career in the sports industry. Follow Michael on X @MichaelNaj3

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