Xeni Barakos-Yoder, a 2011 ESU graduate, has led her alma mater to unprecedented success in her first four seasons as head coach as the Warriors enter the 2020 season.
ESU is 59-18 under her leadership - going 12-5 in 2016, 17-3 in 2017, 15-4 in 2018 and 15-6 in 2019. She guided the Warriors to their first-ever PSAC championship and NCAA Division II Tournament appearance in 2017, and their first Atlantic Region title and national semifinal appearance in 2018. Barakos-Yoder has brought the Warriors to the NCAA Tournament in three of her first four seasons at the helm.
She was named IWLCA DII Atlantic Region Coach of the Year in her third season in 2018 after ESU posted its first two NCAA postseason wins in program history - 12-11 vs. Mercyhurst, and 16-14 at previously unbeaten West Chester. The Warriors fell 20-14 to Florida Southern in the semifinals.
She was named PSAC Coach of the Year in both of her first two seasons, compiling a record of 29-8 and twice setting the school record for wins.
The 2016 season, her first as head coach, closed with a No. 18 ranking in the final IWLCA DII poll and included an 8-7 win vs. No. 6-ranked Lock Haven, and a 9-8 (2OT) loss vs. No. 7 West Chester.
Senior attack Lauren Nunes, the NCAA DII statistical champion in assists per game, was All-PSAC first team and IWLCA All-South Region along with senior defender Caitlyn O'Connell and redshirt junior goalkeeper Jessica Maxwell. Nunes set ESU single-season records for points (96) and assists (61) in her only season under Barakos-Yoder.
ESU's 2017 season (17-3) set nearly every program record and included a 12-game winning streak - featuring seven against nationally-ranked teams - culminating with a 10-9 victory vs. Mercyhurst in the PSAC championship game.
The Warriors won their first-ever PSAC regular season title, PSAC Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time. They were ranked No. 10 in the final IWLCA DII poll.
ESU won 11-9 vs. IUP in the PSAC semifinals before capturing the trophy vs. Mercyhurst in the championship game at Whitenight Field. In the NCAA Tournament, the Warriors fell 17-10 vs. Florida Tech in the first round, hosted by Florida Southern.
Junior midfielder Chessie Rahmer and freshman goalkeeper Tatyana Petteway were named to the IWLCA All-America third team, becoming the first set of ESU teammates to earn All-America honors since 2000.
They were both on the IWLCA All-South Region first team, with sophomore midfielder Emma Rufolo on the second team.
Rufolo was named PSAC Athlete of the Year, with Rahmer and Petteway also on the first team. Five Warriors were third team All-PSAC selections - senior attack Lauren Green, sophomore attack TJ Jefferis, senior midfielder Emily Fitzsimmons (PSAC Tournament MVP), senior defender Bethany Cunningham and senior defender Kerry Mulcahy. Petteway finished second in DII in save percentage (.532) to earn All-America honors.
The 2018 season was highlighted by two memorable days at West Chester in the NCAA Tournament, as the Warriors rallied from five goals down vs. Mercyhurst and a four-goal deficit vs. West Chester to win the regional title.
ESU fell 12-11 (OT) vs. Tiffin in the season opener, then rattled off a 13-1 stretch - the only loss 14-7 at West Chester - before falling to Mercyhurst in the PSAC semifinals to earn its spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The Warriors finished No. 5 in the IWLCA DII poll, setting a program best for the second straight year.
Freshman attack Krista Mitarotonda was named first team All-America, Rahmer was on the second team for her second straight honor, and Rufolo was third team. Mitarotonda was ESU's first first-team All-America selection since 2000, was the Inside Lacrosse DII Rookie of the Year and was the only freshman on the IWLCA All-America squad. She scored 67 goals, second-most by a freshman in PSAC history.
Five Warriors were named first team All-Region - Mitarotonda, Rahmer, Rufolo, sophomore midfielder Hana Cicerelle and freshman defender Kayleigh Pokrivka. Petteway was named to the second team.
All six were also All-PSAC with Mitarotonda, Rahmer and Pokrivka first team, Rufolo second team and Cicerelle and Petteway third team. Rahmer (50 goals), Cicerelle (46) and Rufolo (35) joined Mitarotonda as the top goal scorers.
In 2019, Barakos-Yoder brought the Warriors back to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season after the team finished at 15-6 overall. The Warriors registered 290 goals during the 2019 campaign as they broke the program record for most in a season for the third straight year. Barakos-Yoder has oversaw the three-highest scoring teams in program history (2017, 2018, 2019).
ESU had three players earn IWLCA All-America recognition in 2019, with Krista Mitarotonda and Tatyana Petteway garnering second team honors and Emma Rufolo earning a third team selection. Mitarotonda, Petteway and Rufolo, along with TJ Jefferis and Hana Cicerelle earned All-Region First Team honors, as the Warriors were one of only two teams in Division II to have five players garner All-Region accolades.
Barakos-Yoder also helped those same five players earn All-PSAC honors, with four of them being named to the first team.
Mitarotonda's 61 goals during the 2019 campaign were the third-most in a season in program history, as she became the first-ever ESU player to tally 60 or more goals in multiple seasons. Petteway finished with the highest save percentage (.548) among all goalies at the Division II level.
The Warriors were ranked No. 16 in the final IWLCA Poll of the season, as they finished the year among the top-20 for the fourth consecutive season.
Barakos-Yoder, a former All-PSAC defender for the Warriors, returned to ESU following three years as an assistant collegiate coach. She was assistant coach at Millersville in 2015 following two seasons at Albright College in 2013 and 2014.
As a player at ESU, Barakos-Yoder was named to the All-PSAC third team as a senior in 2011. The Warriors posted a 16-8 win at nationally-ranked Gannon in the PSAC quarterfinals for ESU’s first postseason win since 1986.
Barakos-Yoder was part of a senior class that set a program record with 39 wins, posting 11 wins in 2008, seven in 2009, 11 in 2010 and 10 in 2011. The Warriors played in the PSAC Tournament in three of her four seasons and reached the semifinals in 2008 and 2011. ESU’s 11 wins in 2008 and 2010 tied the school record.
Barakos-Yoder graduated from ESU in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Media Communications and Technology, and she recently received earned her master's degree from California (PA) in athletic administration.
In addition to her collegiate coaching experience, Barakos-Yoder worked as director of girls’ lacrosse at Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex in Wyomissing following her graduation from ESU. She was also program director of LANCO Elite Lacrosse Club in Lancaster.
In 2015 at Millersville, Barakos assisted head coach Mia Hall and helped Sabrina Fusco earn PSAC Freshman of the Year honors with 52 goals. Hannah Vogel set school records in assists in both a season (31) and career (61).
At Albright, the Lions were named the most improved team in Division III in 2013 by laxpower.com and had three All-Commonwealth Conference selections.
Barakos-Yoder is a graduate of Cocalico High School, where she was a two-time All-Lancaster-Lebanon Section 2 selection. She helped her team to the 2005 section championship and 2006 Lancaster-Lebanon championship.