The 2019 season will be the seventh for Wendy Stone as the Purple Eagles’ head women’s lacrosse coach. Stone has taken a team that averaged less than three wins per season in the six years prior to her arrival to new heights, winning 42 games in her first six seasons. After leading the Purple Eagles to their first .500 record in 13 seasons in 2016, including a program-best 5-3 MAAC mark, Stone repeated the feat each of the two years since, becoming the only coach to post winning conference records in three consecutive seasons since Niagara first fielded a varsity women's lacrosse team in 1996. Stone is the only coach in team history to post winning conference records in three consecutive seasons since Niagara first fielded a varsity women's lacrosse team in 1996. Additionally, Stone now has more postseason appearances (four) than all other head coaches combined (three). Prior to Stone’s arrival, the Purple Eagles hadn’t made the MAAC tournament since 2003.
In her six seasons as the head coach of the Purple Eagles, Stone has coached four All-MAAC First Team honorees: Elizabeth Benedict (2016), Carrie-Jo Farrugia (2015), Alexandra Higgins (2017 and 2018) and Rachel MacCheyne (2017 and 2018). Niagara has also produced 11 All-MAAC Second Team selections, 11 MAAC All-Rookie Team selections, and 58 MAAC All-Academic honorees under Stone's guidance. Additionally, MacCheyne became the program's first-ever IWLCA honoree after being named to the 2018 West/Midwest All-Region Second Team.
In 2018, the Purple Eagles went 8-9 in the regular season and made the MAAC Tournament for the fourth consecutive year. The team entered the final weekend at 5-2 in MAAC play, in a five-way tie for first place in the conference. For the fourth straight year, the team qualified for the MAAC postseason tournament. Junior attack Rachel MacCheyne became the program's first-ever IWLCA honoree when she was named to the West/Midwest All-Region Second Team, designating her as one of the 32 best players in the region,alongside players from schools including Denver, Northwestern, Penn State and Stanford. Additionally, MacCheyne (First Team Attack), Caroline Crump (Second Team Attack), Alexis Morales (Second Team Midfield), Alexandra Higgins (First Team Defense) and Meghan Howe (All-Rookie) were selected selected to the MAAC's 2018 honors lists. The team also set a single-season record with 14 student-athletes named to the MAAC All-Academic Team for their high marks in the classroom.
Niagara capped the 2017 season with the team's first appearance in the MAAC semifinals since 2003, which came after a dominant 16-4 victory over Monmouth in the first round of the MAAC Championships. The Purple Eagles matched the efforts of the 2016 team with a 9-10 overall record and a 5-3 mark in MAAC play. The season was marked by record-setting performances at both ends of the field. Sophomore Rachel MacCheyne set Niagara single-season records in goals (60) and points (75), while junior Grace Hunt tied the program record with 38 assists. At the defensive end, Alexandra Higgins seized the program's single-season records in ground balls (58), draw controls (111) and caused turnovers (37). Higgins was named MAAC Defender of the Year and joined MacCheyne on the 2017 All-MAAC First Team. The 2017 graduating class was highlighted by defender Kara Martin, the program's career leader in ground balls (137) and goalkeeper Andrea Francisco, who ended her four-year career first all-time at Niagara in wins (28) and third in saves (478).
Niagara had one of its most successful seasons ever in 2016. The Purple Eagles finished the season with a 9-9 record overall and a 5-3 record in MAAC play, the best in program history. The Purple Eagles led the MAAC with 19.94 ground balls per game and 9.78 caused turnovers per game, ranking second in the conference in scoring defense allowing 9.83 goals per game. Defender Elizabeth Benedict became just the seventh All-MAAC First Team selection in Niagara history. The Purple Eagles tied a program record with four All-MAAC Second Team honorees (Caroline Crump, Andrea Francisco, Alexandra Higgins, Danielle Maio), while Crump and Alexis Morales made the MAAC All-Rookie Team. Niagara advanced to the MAAC postseason for the second-straight year and the fifth time in program history.
A second consecutive 3-5 MAAC record in Stone’s third season with the Purple Eagles led to the team’s first berth in the MAAC Championships since 2003. Niagara finished 6-12 overall, picking up non-conference wins against Cincinnati, Stetson, and St. Bonaventure. The team loaded its non-conference schedule with Big 10 opponents Ohio State and Michigan and one game against SEC power Florida.
The resurgence of the Niagara women’s lacrosse program was evident during the 2014 season as the Purple Eagles finished 7-9 overall and fifth in the MAAC with a 3-5 record. The seven victories were the most for the program since the 2004 season and the most under Coach Stone, while the three conference triumphs were the most wins in conference play since 2004 as well.
During her first season with Niagara, Stone saw a veteran core mesh with a talented group of fresh faces. Her first victory as a Purple Eagle came in a 9-7 overtime win over Detroit Mercy (3/7). Niagara also captured its first victory against St. Bonaventure in program history in her debut season, winning 9-7 against the Bonnies.
Prior to her time at Niagara, Stone served as the interim head coach at Longwood University in 2011 after spending the previous two seasons as the assistant coach. While at Longwood, Stone guided the Lancers to a 2010 National Lacrosse Conference (NLC) Championship and helped develop 12 All-National Lacrosse Conference selections. Stone has also mentored two NLC Midfielders of the Year, an NLC Player of the Year and an NLC Goalkeeper of the Year during her tenure.
She is currently serving as the team manager for the United States Women’s Lacrosse World Cup team where she is responsible for scheduling, meals, transportation, housing, equipment and uniforms.
Stone served as the varsity lacrosse and field hockey coach at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts from 2006-09. While at Berkshire Stone led the lacrosse team to an improvement from 3-13 in her first season to 8-6 in her second year. She also coached varsity field hockey and junior varsity hockey, and served as the assistant athletic director while teaching English and history as well.
Stone served as coach and coordinator of the Lower New England teams for the US Lacrosse Women’s Division National Tournament and the LadyRoc Rubies 2010 team. She was involved in the formation of CityLAX, an organization that focused on the growth of lacrosse in New York City.
In 2005, Stone earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American studies from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. She was a standout student-athlete in women’s lacrosse, field hockey and ice hockey while helping Williams to the NCAA Tournament in each sport. Stone captained the 2005 lacrosse team that advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight, and she was also honored as a Scholar Athlete.