In five short years Stacey (Wood) Florence has helped lay a strong foundation for Capital Women’s Lacrosse and build an immediate competitor in the Ohio Athletic Conference and in the region. The program’s rapid growth has led to much success enjoyed by her student-athletes both on and off the field. She finished her sixth season as head coach in 2018-19.
Florence, a former student-athlete and assistant coach, became the first-ever coach of the Crusaders’ women’s lacrosse program in November 2012. Through five seasons, Florence has helped groom five conference players of the year, six all-region selections, one CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, 39 All-OAC selections, and a host of academic awards from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) and the OAC. She has won 10 or more games in each of her first six seasons as a head coach.
Capital enjoyed another season full of successes in 2019 as the team finished second in the OAC with a 7-1 conference record and advanced to the OAC Tournament Championship for teh third time in four years. Capital finished the year with an overall record of 11-6. The Crusaders strung together seven consecutive victories in the middle of the campaign to open OAC play and in eight games outscored conference opponents 141-41. The Crusaders recorded the program's first back-to-back shutouts on March 30 and April 3 as the team defeated Muskingum 22-0 and Marietta 20-0. Along the way, sophomore Brooke Delara broke the program's records for most points and most assists in a single game with 14 and 11, respectively, at Muskingum. Delara was one of three players to earn First Team All-OAC honors along with Kathryn Walton and Alex Lowry. Dana Stover, Makenna Ozenghar and Kate Enot were each named Second Team All-OAC and Lisa Lozt earned All-OAC Honorable Mention. The seven All-OAC selections were tied for teh second-most in a single season in team history.
The 2018 season was a year of reacord-breaking firsts for Florence and the Crusaders as the team set a new program record with 14 wins. Capital went 6-2 in the OAC and finished with an overall record of 14-3. The Crusaders started the season 7-0, the most consecutive wins to start a season in program history and kept it rolling from there. The team finished with the third-most goals in the OAC (286) and allowed the second-fewest (121). Capital finished 11th in the country in goals per game with 16.82 and allowed the 12th-fewest goals in Division III. Florence also guided Kara Hines to the OAC Midfielder of the Year award and Regan Hanood to the OAC Offensive Player of the Year award. Hines became the first Capital lacrosse player to score 200 career goals and became the program's all-time points leader over the course of the year. Hanood led the OAC and the nation with 69 assists and 4.06 assists per game while becoming the first Capital player with 100 career helpers. Hines and Hanood were two of the five players to earn First Team All-OAC selections and a sixth Crusader was named to the All-OAC Second Team. Capital had the most players in the conference named to the All-OAC first and second teams. The Crusaders advanced to the OAC Tournament championship for the second time in program history.
In 2016 the team reached the OAC Tournament championship match for the first time in its young history. The Purple and White finished with a 12-5 overall regular season record and a 6-1 conference record. Capital's regular season success earned the Crusaders the right to host its first postseason match, which led to a victory over John Carroll University, 14-8, to advance to the title tilt.
Following the season, Florence was named the 2016 OAC Coach of the Year. Capital finished 24th in the country in scoring defense, having allowed just 7.0 goals per game. They also ranked 30th in Division III in scoring margin (5.18). With her guidance, Kara Hines was named OAC Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, as a sophomore.
It was also a successful campaign in the classroom for Women's Lacrosse, who was named the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Zag Sports Academic Honor Roll Squad. Three players, including Alexis Juergensen, Marlee McCloud, and Shannon Walton, received individual academic honors from the IWLCA. Both of these feats were achieved following the 2016 and 2017 campaigns.
Capital finished its inaugural season in 2014 with a 10-5 record, including a 1-3 mark in Ohio Athletic Conference play, and reached the OAC Tournament semifinals. The Crusaders also finished with a 6-1 record at Bernlohr Stadium and concluded the year ranked in the top 10 in the nation in both caused turnovers (14.53 per game) and scoring defense (7.13 gpg).
Following the 2014 season, goalie Maddie Wilson was selected OAC Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-OAC and IWLCA Second Team All-Great Lakes Region. Four others garnered all-league honors, while three players ware named Academic All-OAC.
Florence earned her first head coaching victory in the team's season-opening 16-3 win over Franciscan on March 1 at Bernlohr Stadium. The Crusaders downed Wilmington 25-5 on April 16 at home for the program's first OAC triumph.
Following Florence’s fourth straight 10-win season, a member of her team achieved another first in program history. Shortly after graduating, goaltender Maddie Wilson ’17 was invited to represent her country and play for the D3 Elite Team USA North squad at the FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup Showcase in London, England. She was then elevated to play on the D1 Elite team, where she helped her squad achieve a 6-1-1 record and earn the silver medal in its respective tournament.
The 2017 season served as another testament to Florence’s strong defensive philosophy when the Crusaders finished the year ranked 14th in Division III for scoring defense (6.53) and 26th for caused turnovers per contest (12.13). They also found themselves ranked nationally in another category by placing 17th in free position percentage (.500).
Florence, who most recently served as assistant coach at the State University of New York at Oneonta, assisted the Red Dragons to a turnaround season with an overall record of 12-4. She help guided Oneonta to an 8-0 start in 2012, which was the program’s best start in its history.
In her role at Oneonta, Florence served as defensive coordinator, assisted in the recruiting of prospective student-athletes and played a role in scouting opponents and managing practice. Florence also mentored one All-American and three All-State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) athletes during her tenure.
A native of Tonawanda, N.Y., Florence was a standout athlete on both the lacrosse and soccer teams at Buffalo State. Florence was a three-year starter at defender for the women's lacrosse team from 2003-07. She helped pace the Bengals to a cumulative 35-24 record, a first-ever playoff appearance in the 2004 SUNYAC Tournament quarterfinals and later the 2006 SUNYAC Tournament semifinals. She also was a member of the Buffalo State women’s soccer team in 2003.
Florence’s previous coaching experience also includes stints at Hartwick College (N.Y.) and Wilson College (Pa.). As an assistant coach in 2011 at Hartwick College, a member of the Empire 8 Conference, Florence helped guide the Hawks to their most successful season in recent memory with a 7-8 overall mark, which had been the program's second-highest win total in the previous 10 seasons.
She also has three years of experience working in sports information, with her responsibilities including computing in-game statistics for soccer, field hockey, baseball, gymnastics, lacrosse, tennis and softball.
Florence received her bachelor's in communications from Buffalo State in 2008.