Miriam Esber enters her 12th season as head coach of the Mount Holyoke College lacrosse team. Over her 11 years at the helm, she has resurrected a program that averaged just four wins in the 12 seasons prior to her arrival. She has posted a record of 65-107 (.377) since taking over the reigns of the program in 2007.
Mount Holyoke posted victories over Gordon College, Salve Regina and conference-foe Emerson College during the 2018 season. The Lyons saw several milestones reached as senior captain Leila Kouakou became the 15th player in program history to record 100 career points. Additionally, senior midfielder Kaitlin Braz recorded her 200th ground ball, becoming just the second player in program history to reach the mark - while also reaching the most ground balls in the modern era since the rules changed in 2007.
The 2017 campaign saw the Lyons record victories against the University of New England, Western New England University and conference-rival Coast Guard. Mount Holyoke saw several milestones reached as senior captain and attack Charlotte Wagner became the 14th player in program history to record 100 career points, while senior goalie Isa Rodriguez moved into fifth all-time with 406 career saves.
In 2016, the Lyons saw a number of outstanding achievements as program records fell. Leading the way was senior Catherine Ryan, who became the all-time leader in assists at Mount Holyoke, finishing her career with 155 total helpers. She also became just the sixth player in program history to record 200 career points. Senior Julia Bell, who was a NEWMAC All-Conference Second Team honoree, became just the second player in history to reach 200 career goals. She finished with 213 goals and 74 assists for 287 points and now ranks second all-time in both goals and points in a career.
Mount Holyoke posted a 6-10 overall record, going 3-5 in NEWMAC play during the 2015 campaign. The squad secured the sixth-seed for the conference tournament, falling in the NEWMAC Quarterfinals at Wellesley by an 11-8 margin.
Highlighting the season was senior Kirsten Kilburn, who scored her 200th career point, while also being named to the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team. Junior Julia Bell also recorded her 200th career point and was named to the All-Conference Second Team for her efforts. Additionally, junior Catherine Ryan became just the second player in program history to record 100 career assists.
In 2014, the Lyons went 8-8 overall, finishing fifth in the NEWMAC standings to return to the conference tournament for the second straight season. MHC fell by a narrow 18-17 margin to MIT in the NEWMAC Quarterfinals.
The Lyons saw two players lead the conference in scoring as sophomore Julia Bell boasted a NEWMAC-best 71 goals and 94 points, while junior Kirsten Kilburn added 70 goals on 78 points. Both were named to the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team and went on to garner IWLCA All-Berkshire Region Second Team and ECAC Division III All-Star First Team honors.
Esber guided the Lyons to their best mark in program history in 2013, going 13-4 overall. The squad tied the all-time record for wins in a season, while also posting a 4-2 mark in the NEWMAC - it's best record in conference play under Esber.
The 2013 also finished second in the NEWMAC standings, advancing to the conference semifinals. MHC went on to compete in the 2013 ECAC New England Championship, winning the program's first title in a 17-16 victory against Western New England University.
Esber, who was also named the NEWMAC Coach of the Year, saw five student-athletes garner All-Conference honors, including three to the First Team. Additionally, one of her players was named the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year. The accolades continued to pour in as three were named All-Region.
Esber was named NEWMAC Coach of the Year in 2010 after guiding the Lyons to an 11-7 mark. Her squad advanced to the ECAC Tournament Championship and finished as the national leaders in draw controls per game with 19.17. Their 338 points, 265 goals and 345 draw controls were all program single season highs.
Prior to joining the Mount Holyoke staff, Esber served as head coach of the Hartwick College women's lacrosse team for three years. From 2005-07, she guided the Hawks to 20 wins. Her 2006 squad captured the NYSWCAA Championship and took second place in the ECAC Upstate Tournament. Before that, Esber held assistant coaching positions at Ithaca College (2003-04) and Endicott College (2002-03). In 2004, she helped lead Ithaca to the Empire 8 Championship and a trip to the NCAA Division III National Tournament.
Esber enjoyed an outstanding collegiate career at the College of Wooster. Over her four seasons in a Fighting Scots uniform, she was named to the NCAC All-Conference Team three times and the West Region All-American team twice. During her senior year, she served as team captain and was invited to play in the prestigious North/South All-Star game.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Wooster in 2002, Esber went on to attain her Master of Science Degree in sport science from Ithaca in 2004. She is a graduate of the NCAA Women Coaches Academy.
In addition to her coaching duties, Esber also teaches several classes, including fitness for life, weight training for fitness, running for fitness, racquetball and badminton.