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Christopher Newport University

Christopher Newport Univ Athletics
1 Avenue of the Arts Newport News, VA 23606
Division 3 Virginia Northeast
Public Small National competitor

Coaches

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Lisa Valentine

Taking the reins in 2016 as just the fourth head coach in program history, Lisa Valentine has made a substantial impact on the Captains and guided the team to a 77-61 record over the last eight seasons. Along the way, Christopher Newport has returned to the national spotlight while securing a trip to the NCAA Tournament and becoming a regular in the IWLCA National Coaches Poll.


During Valentine’s first season in Newport News, the squad climbed to 15th in the national rankings. Since then, the Captains have continued to earn recognition, including a consistent spot in the poll over the past three seasons. Since 2021, the team has spent 13 weeks in the top-25.


Earning national respect, Christopher Newport secured a bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2023 and advanced to the second round of the national playoffs for the second time in program history. Along with their work in the postseason, Valentine’s squads have continued to face and defeat some of the top programs in the country during the regular season as well.


Since 2016, Christopher Newport has knocked off six nationally-ranked opponents, including a victory over No. 10 Catholic in 2016. That stands as the highest-ranked squad ever defeated by the Captains.


Under Valentine’s tutelage, Christopher Newport has also remained one of the most statistically dominant teams in the country. In 2016, the Captains finished atop the NCAA with a .580 free-position percentage. Additionally, the program led the conference in goals-per-game in 2016 and 2018, while the latter squad also ranked 11th in the NCAA in saves.


In addition to the team’s success, Valentine has helped 22 Captains earn All-Conference honors, while 15 players have collected All-Region accolades. Headlining the decorated contingent, four standouts have secured All-American citations from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association. Kelsey Winters became the program’s first three-time honoree, including a first-team award in 2023. Meanwhile, Sarah Culver, Meaghan Galvin, and Julia Iapicca also earned top plaudits from the IWLCA during their standout careers.


Equally impressive off the field, Christopher Newport has been recognized as an IWLCA Academic Honor Squad seven times since Valentine arrived on campus. The Captains also earned the IWLCA Community Awareness Award in 2016, which is bestowed upon the program that has made outstanding contributions on the campus and in the community.


Along with her efforts overseeing the Captains, Valentine has remained a key figure in the women’s lacrosse community. She has a vote on the IWLCA National Coaches Poll and serves as the Chesapeake Region chair on the All-American Committee. Additionally, she chairs the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference Coaches Committee, is a gold member of the IWLCA Mentoring Program, and has served eight years as a site representative during the NCAA Tournament.


Off the field, Valentine has also made her presence felt around campus in a variety of roles, including her work as an advisor for the Morgan’s Message organization at Christopher Newport.


Prior to arriving in Newport News, Valentine spent five years as the head coach at St. Mary’s (Md.). During her time with the Seahawks, she compiled an overall record of 49-39, including a 22-15 ledger in league action. Along the way, the team reached the semifinals of the CAC Tournament in 2013 and 2015.


During her final year at St. Mary’s, the Kent Island, Maryland native led the Seahawks to a 13-5 record, including a 6-2 mark in the CAC. She also registered a 12-win campaign during her first year at the helm in 2011.


In her time at St. Mary’s, she coached eight All-Region honorees and 15 All-Conference performers. Just as impressive in the classroom, Valentine’s teams were named IWLCA Division III Academic Squads from 2012-14.


Between her time at St. Mary’s and Christopher Newport, Valentine boasts a 126-100 career record. With her success at both locations, she became just the 16th coach in NCAA history to record at least 40 wins at two different Division III institutions.


Prior to her time as a head coach, Valentine served on the coaching staff at Washington College of Maryland from 2008-11. She was an assistant with the Shorewomen in the summer of 2008 before being promoted to Senior Assistant Coach and recruiting coordinator the following summer.


A 2006 graduate of the University of Maryland, she played lacrosse for the Division I powerhouse for four seasons. As a Terrapin, she helped the team reach the NCAA Tournament all four years, including a trip to the Final Four in 2003.


Valentine earned her B.A. in economics from Maryland in May, 2006.

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Riley Rafterry-Lee

Following a decorated career with the Captains, Riley Rafterry-Lee joined the Christopher Newport women's lacrosse coaching staff as the Director of Operations in the fall of 2023. In her role with the team, she will assist the staff with recruiting, travel, and social media outreach.


Prior to her professional endeavors, Rafterry-Lee spent five years on the field with the Captains from 2019-23. One of the program's most successful standouts on the defensive side of the ball, she finished her career ranked in the top-20 all-time with 72 appearances, 67 starts, and 47 takeaways.


Polishing off her tenure with an exceptional senior campaign, she helped lead Christopher Newport to the second round of the NCAA Tournament while finishing 24th in the IWLCA National Coaches Poll. A starter in all 21 games, she ranked seventh in the league with 30 ground balls and 10th with 20 caused turnovers.


For her work in 2023, Rafterry-Lee secured first-team All-Conference honors and was a second-team All-State and All-Region selection. She also garnered a spot in the IWLCA North-South Senior All-Star Game.


Making an impact both on and off the field, Rafterry-Lee became the first student-athlete in Christopher Newport history to serve as a team captain for four seasons after filling that role from 2020-23. Equally impressive in the classroom as a political science major, she was celebrated as the 2022 Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference Women's Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year and picked up Academic All-League and All-District plaudits for her work.

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