Kelsey Van Alstyne
Kelsey Van Alstyne completed her third season as head coach of the Slippery Rock University lacrosse program in 2020.
Already the third winningest coach in program history, Van Alstyne has guided The Rock to a 22-17 record (.564) since coming to SRU. Seven players have earned All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference honors under her guidance with five going on to become all-region performers and one, Emily Bitka in 2018, earning All-America recognition.
In her first season at The Rock in 2018, Van Alstyne led SRU to a 13-5 record and a trip to the PSAC playoffs. The 13 wins were the most in a season in Rock history and the PSAC playoff berth was just the second in SRU’s 28-year history.
Under her guidance, The Rock finished 2018 leading the nation in ground balls per game (29.06) while also ranking third in caused turnovers per game (14.78), third in save percentage (.535), 11th in goals allowed per game (8.78) and 22nd in win percentage (.722).
Van Alstyne mentored three All-PSAC honorees in Rachel Shaw, Tia Torchia and PSAC Athlete of the Year Emily Bitka, who went on to be named and All-American and the MVP of the IWLCA Senior All-Star Game.
Slippery Rock concluded 2019 with a 7-9 overall record and just missed out on a PSAC Tournament berth. SRU got out to a 2-3 start to the 2020 season before having the year halted due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Van Alstyne, a 2011 graduate of Bloomsburg with a degree in exercise science, returned to the PSAC after spending three seasons as the head coach at Division III Morrisville State, where she led the team to a pair of conference titles, two NCAA playoff appearances and never posted a losing record.
The Burnt Hills, New York native guided Morrisville to an 11-8 record and a NEAC title in 2015 in her first year with the program. That led the Mustangs to their first ever appearance in the NCAA playoffs. Van Alstyne followed that up with a 9-9 showing in 2016 before capping her three years at Morrisville with a 13-6 record, a second NEAC title and a trip to the NCAA playoffs in 2017, when she was named Coach of the Year in the conference.
Prior to joining the staff at Morrisville, Van Alstyne served one season as the interim head lacrosse coach at Buffalo State, where she led the team to an 8-7 overall record in a season that featured six games against teams that were ranked in the top 20 in the national poll, the highlight of which was a win over No. 16 Brockport. She moved into that role after serving as an assistant coach for one year with the Bengals.
Prior to her time at Buffalo State, Van Alstyne served as an assistant coach for one season at Ithaca College and also served one year as a strength and conditioning assistant at Cornell University. In her one year at Ithaca, the program went a perfect 7-0 in conference play and the coaching staff was named Staff of the Year by the Empire-8 Conference.
In addition to her collegiate coaching experience, Van Alstyne has also coached USA teams in International competition in Australia, Germany and the U.K. for the last three years and has worked at various camps, including the Nike Cup.
Van Alstyne’s collegiate athletics career began at West Chester University, where she played volleyball for one season and earned PSAC Scholar-Athlete honors. She transferred to Bloomsburg University following her freshman year and played three years of lacrosse for the Huskies, serving two seasons as captain and earning Scholar-Athlete honors in each of those years.
After earning her undergraduate degree from Bloomsburg, Van Alstyne went on to earn her master’s degree in sports management from SUNY Cortland in 2014. She is married to Chris Van Alstyne, who currently serves as the strength and conditioning coach for The Rock lacrosse program.
Van Alstyne, whose maiden name is Kelsey Schwan, is the third head coach of The Rock women’s lacrosse program since the school reinstated the sport at the varsity level in 2007.