Due to COVID-19, spring sports were cut short across the country, including at Wilkes University. In regards to The Beacon’s third annual Athlete of the Year tournament, athletes from the women’s lacrosse team were not considered – with one exception.
Junior attack Ashley Burkhardt earned herself an automatic bid in the tournament after receiving The Beacon’s final Athlete of the Week selection on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Burkhardt was placed as the No. 24 seed, the lowest seed on the women’s side of the bracket, due to the fact that she was the only spring-sport athlete to be included in the entire tournament.
However, that does not mean Burkhardt was the only women’s lacrosse player who had potential of being in the tournament.
At the beginning of their spring season, the Colonels played seven contests, collecting a total of 61 goals and amassing a 2-5 record. The talent on the team was undeniable, and if not for COVID-19, a couple of players would have found their way into The Beacon’s third annual Athlete of the Year tournament.
First, sophomore midfielder Domenica Lerch had set herself up for a nice campaign in 2020.
She led the team in goals with 12 and in assists with nine for a grand total of 21 points. Priming herself to have a solid season, Lerch posted a dominant six points in the season opener against Bryn Athyn with an impressive .750 shooting percentage.
Coming off a promising freshman season, Lerch could be a future pick on next year’s bracket.
Senior goalkeeper Sarah Carlini was another potential candidate for this year’s tournament had the season not been cut short.
Wilkes’ netminder got plenty of action early on in the season. Carlini accumulated 94 saves in the Colonels’ seven-game spring season, with a perfect stat line in the season opener against Bryn Athyn.
She then went on to obtain a season-high 20 saves against Bryn Mawr. After a four-year tenure with Wilkes, Carlini posted 502 saves and a .456 save percentage.
Unfortunately, last year’s No. 26 seeded Carlini will not have another chance of being in an Athlete of the Year tournament with her senior season cut short. Lerch, on the other hand, has a chance of making her first Athlete of the Year tournament appearance following her junior season next year.