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William & Mary

College of William & Mary Athletics Dept
751 Ukrop Way Williamsburg, VA 23185
Division 1 Virginia Northeast
Public Medium National competitor

Coaches

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Colleen Dawson

Although both of her first two seasons leading the William & Mary lacrosse team were significantly affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic, head coach Colleen Dawson has successfully guided the program through the challenges.


In addition to beginning to build a foundation for lasting success that will enable the Tribe to consistently challenge for conference championships, Dawson’s leadership has also produced exceptional results in the classroom.


Evidence of that success can be found in multiple players earning all-conference honors last season, while the entire roster – 30 players – earned the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award, marking the second consecutive year in which the program accomplished the impressive feat. Additionally, 23 standouts garnered W&M’s Provost Award for academic excellence, while the team was recognized as an IWLCA Academic Honor Squad and 10 standouts were named to the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll.


W&M also emerged among the CAA’s leaders in multiple statistical categories in 2021, as it led the conference in ground balls per game (19.33) and ranked second in caused turnovers per game (9.0). The caused turnover average ranked ninth on the program’s single-season list, while its 12.57 draw controls per game ranked just outside W&M’s all-time single-season top-10 list (11th).


Individually, Belle Martire garnered second-team all-conference honors after ranking among the CAA’s top 10 in goals per game (3.25), points per game (4.0) and draw controls per game (3.5) – a figure that ranks fourth on the program’s single-season list. Additionally, she ranked among the top 10 nationally in free position goals per game (1.42) and free position shooting percentage (.739). Courtney Vasquenza also earned postseason honors and was named to the All-Rookie Team after ranking among the conference’s top 10 in caused turnovers per game and ground balls per game.


Although the 2020 season was cut short due to the CoVID-19 pandemic, there were many highlights from Dawson’s initial campaign in Williamsburg, including wins against Old Dominion and George Washington. Additionally, W&M was on pace for one of its most productive seasons ever in totaling ground balls, as it led the CAA and ranked 12th nationally with 20.14 per contest.


Belle Martire highlighted the team’s individual accomplishments, as she garnered VaSID All-State honors after leading the CAA and ranking 11th nationally in goals per game (4.0). The sophomore set a single-game school record with nine goals in the Tribe’ season-ending win against George Washington, while freshman Sarah Cipolla posted a single-game school record 11 draw controls in the triumph versus the Colonials.


In addition to the success on the field, every member of the roster earned CAA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll distinction during the spring semester (29 student-athletes), while nine members of the squad garnered W&M’s Provost Award for academic excellence.


Having won a national title as a student-athlete at the University of Maryland and posted a record-breaking tenure as an assistant at Saint Joseph’s University, Colleen Dawson was selected as the W&M head lacrosse coach in August, 2019.


Dawson was instrumental in the Hawks’ success during her five seasons as an assistant, as SJU broke single-season school records for wins in back-to-back seasons (2017, 2018). Additionally, the program advanced to the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament each of the last four seasons.


A number of Hawks also benefited from Dawson’s tutelage, as the squad produced the A-10 Offensive Player of the Year (2019) and the A-10 Rookie of the Year (2016). Additionally, the Hawks garnered 13 all-conference accolades, 10 A-10 All-Rookie Team selections and eight A-10 All-Academic Team honorees.


En route to registering double-digit win totals during each of the last three seasons at SJU, Dawson’s tenure with the Hawks was highlighted by a 2018 campaign that saw the team set a school record with 12 wins, including a 7-2 mark in conference play. Additionally, the 2019 squad etched its name in program’s record book by breaking single-season school records for points (412), goals (265) and assists (147).


While Dawson assisted in all facets of the program at SJU, her primary responsibilities were coaching the draw control specialists and offensive unit.


Dawson joined the Hawks after spending two years as the director of lacrosse operations at Loyola University of Maryland in Baltimore, where she was primarily responsible for running day-to-day operations of the program, including but not limited to film breakdown, travel, and meals, and fundraising.


Dawson was a member of the Maryland women's lacrosse program from 2008-11, helping the Terrapins to three consecutive ACC Championships and the 2010 NCAA Championship. The scholar-athlete also excelled in the classroom, where she earned ACC Student-Athlete Honor Roll recognition and was a member of the Leadership Group.


Following her collegiate career, Dawson spent a year abroad working with and coaching youth lacrosse programs in Australia. She coached the Footscray U-17 Team to the 2012 Premiership title and led all scorers on the 2012 Footscray State League Team.


Dawson is a product of West Chester East High School, where she was a 2007 All-American, the All-Chester County Female Athlete of the Year, and an All-Conference and All-Area First Team selection.


Dawson earned a bachelor's of science degree in kinesiology from the University of Maryland in May 2011 and an M.S. in Organization Development and Leadership from Saint Joseph's University in May 2018.

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Jenny Simpson

After two successful seasons helping lead the William & Mary lacrosse program, Jenny Simpson enters her third year on the Tribe’s coaching staff.


Success came both on the field and in the classroom during the 2021 campaign, as multiple players earned all-conference honors and numerous standouts garnered academic accolades.


Individually, Belle Martire garnered second-team all-conference honors after ranking among the CAA’s top 10 in goals per game (3.25), points per game (4.0) and draw controls per game (3.5) – a figure that ranks fourth on the program’s single-season list. Additionally, she ranked among the top 10 nationally in free position goals per game (1.42) and free position shooting percentage (.739). Courtney Vasquenza also earned postseason honors and was named to the All-Rookie Team after ranking among the conference’s top 10 in caused turnovers per game and ground balls per game.


As a team, W&M emerged among the CAA’s leaders in multiple statistical categories in 2021, as it led the conference in ground balls per game (19.33) and ranked second in caused turnovers per game (9.0). The caused turnover average ranked ninth on the program’s single-season list, while its 12.57 draw controls per game ranked just outside W&M’s all-time single-season top-10 list (11th).


Academically, all 30 players earned the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award, marking the second consecutive year in which the program accomplished the impressive feat. Additionally, 23 standouts garnered W&M’s Provost Award for academic excellence, while the team was recognized as an IWLCA Academic Honor Squad and 10 standouts were named to the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll.


Although the 2020 season was cut short due to the CoVID-19 pandemic, there were many highlights from Simpson’s initial campaign in Williamsburg, including wins against Old Dominion and George Washington. Additionally, W&M was on pace for one of its most productive seasons ever in totaling ground balls, as it led the Colonial Athletic Association and ranked 12th nationally with 20.14 per contest.


Belle Martire highlighted the team’s individual accomplishments, as she garnered VaSID All-State honors after leading the CAA and ranking 11th nationally in goals per game (4.0). The sophomore set a single-game school record with nine goals in the Tribe’ season-ending win against George Washington, while freshman Sarah Cipolla posted a single-game school record 11 draw controls in the triumph versus the Colonials.


In addition to the success on the field, nine members of the squad earned W&M’s Provost Award for academic excellence.


Simpson, a former standout player at the University of New Hampshire and a captain of the Senior England Women’s National Team, joined the Tribe staff in October, 2019 after a successful tenure as an assistant with the U19 England National Team and as head coach at Caterham School in Surrey, England.


As an assistant with the U19 England National Team, Simpson helped lead the squad to a fourth-place finish at the 2019 U19 World Championships.


Simpson also served as head coach at Caterham School from 2016-19 where she led the varsity team to a national semifinal appearance and four additional age groups to top-16 finishes at the 2019 UK National Schools Tournament. During her tenure, she mentored four players to the 2019 World Lacrosse U19 World Championships, while 13 of her players competed with Junior National Development Programs.


Simpson’s coaching experience also includes serving as head coach at the University of Surrey (2013-14) where she led the team to a Cup Championship and a Division promotion. She also served an assistant coach with the U18 Scotland World Cup Festival Team (2015) and as an assistant at Caterham School (2014-16).


In addition to her coaching experience, Simpson has been an attacker on the Senior England Women’s National Team since 2015 and a captain since 2018. The squad won the 2019 Women’s European Championships and was a bronze medalist at the 2017 Women’s Lacrosse World Cup.


A four-year starter at the University of New Hampshire (2009-13), Simpson earned All-America East honors as a senior and served as a team captain. Additionally, she garnered America East Rookie Team distinction as a freshman and was named to the America East All-Academic Team three times.


A native of New Canaan, Conn., Simpson earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from UNH in 2013.

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Grace Beshlian

Grace Beshlian is in her first season as an assistant coach at William & Mary.


Beshlian, a former standout goalie and team captain at the University of Connecticut, joined the Tribe’s staff after a successful tenure as a student assistant at UConn last season.


Beshlian made an immediate impact as a member of UConn’s coaching staff last season and helped lead the Huskies to a record-breaking campaign. In addition to earning just the second NCAA Tournament bid in the program’s history, the Huskies equaled a school record for wins (12) and set a new mark for BIG EAST victories (7) en route to garnering a No. 21 national ranking in the final Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaching Association (IWLCA) Poll.


UConn also set school records for goals (273), points (375), shots (569) and draw controls (286) last spring, while it ranked 21st nationally with 14.37 goals per games and 25th in team save percentage (.459).


Numerous UConn standouts also benefited from Beshlian’s tutelage, as midfielder Sydney Watson became the first player in program history to be selected to the IWLCA All-America First Team and a school-record five standouts earned IWLCA All-Region honors – highlighted by goalie Landyn White who ranked third in the country with 167 saves.


In addition to her tenure at UConn, Beshlian’s coaching experience also includes serving as an assistant with the Long Island Legacy club team and working numerous camps and clinics.


As a standout goalie at UConn (2016-20), Beshlian served as a team captain and Leadership Council Member. Additionally, she garnered academic all-conference honors twice and finished her career with 471 saves, which ranks third in school history.


A native of Wantagh, N.Y., Beshlian earned her undergraduate degree in special education (2020) and a master’s degree in educational psychology (2021) from UConn.

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