Pilgrim Lacrosse: Welcome

Pilgrim girls’ lacrosse a united front

Pilgrim girls’ lacrosse a united front
Matt Metcalf

It’s quite visible that the Pilgrim girls’ lacrosse team is a tight-knit group. 

And that cohesiveness, along with a wave of talented players, has allowed Pilgrim to establish itself as one of the top girls’ lacrosse programs in Division III over just five years of competing in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League. 

But one thing’s for sure – wins didn’t always come easy. 

In fact, Pilgrim struggled out of the gates in 2011, going winless over 14 games in D-III, something that wasn’t overly shocking for a team just starting out. 

But that’s really the only bump in the road that Pilgrim has experienced over the five seasons. 

In 2012, the Pats posted seven more wins than the year prior, finishing at .500 with a 7-7 record. 

With a minor taste of success during that year, the program was ready to take the next step during the following spring – and it certainly did. 

In 2013, Pilgrim went 8-3, making it all the way to the division championship before falling to undefeated Narragansett. 

The Mariners moved up to Division II following their championship season, but in 2014, Pilgrim still found itself in a similar spot. 

This time, it was undefeated Chariho ripping the crown right from the Pats’ hands in the title game following another 8-3 regular season. 

This season, it’s déjà vu for the Pats through the regular season. They concluded the season slate with a 13-6 win over East Providence on Senior Night this past Thursday. The win pushed them to 8-2, marking their third-straight eight-win season. 

Pilgrim head coach Tom Flanders has built a strong foundation for the program in a short amount of time, and now, his team is hoping for the same journey deep into the playoffs with a different end result than the last two years. 

It’s easy to see why the Pats have been so consistent in recent years – Flanders has built a family atmosphere. 

On Thursday night, Pilgrim built a substantial lead by halftime, allowing for Flanders to play all 11 seniors in the second half, and the rest of the team was more than happy to let them play for the full 25 minutes. 

Pilgrim, which has a loaded junior class, could’ve easily played those juniors in preparation for the playoffs. 

But that option was quickly dismissed because of the respect that the rest of the team had for the group of seniors. 

Even though Pilgrim was outscored, 4-2, in that half, it didn’t matter. It was about more than just the score. 

Among family and friends that came out to support those seniors in their final regular season game were a handful of former teammates. 

One of those former teammates was Haley McCusker, Pilgrim’s top scorer last year. She went on to star at Coker College in her freshman season this spring, but there she was at Pilgrim on Thursday paying tribute to those who were a class below her. 

To Flanders, that’s what the program is all about. He wants to establish an atmosphere where players want to come back, even after they can no longer don a Pats’ uniform. 

“This program started back in 2011, and it needed a close, family environment to fly,” Flanders said after Pilgrim’s win over East Providence.

It seems that Flanders and the Pats have sustained that since 2011, and with that has come success on the field.

Flanders and the Pats are right where they want to be – the only thing missing is a championship. 

They’ll have the opportunity to capture their first in the coming weeks.