Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Athletics Department
25 Beamer Way Blacksburg, VA 24061
Division 1 Virginia Northeast
Public Very Large National competitor


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Kristen Skiera

Virginia Tech director of athletics Whit Babcock announced June 11, 2021 that Kristen Skiera (formerly Kristen Waagbo) has been named the seventh head coach in Virginia Tech women’s lacrosse history. A two-time All-America performer as an attacker at Duke University and a Tewaaraton Award semifinalist joins the Hokies after seven seasons as the women’s lacrosse head coach at Army West Point.

“Throughout our search process Kristen’s name, reputation and coaching style consistently came to the forefront,” Babcock said. “She has distinguished herself as a coach in both NCAA and international competition. Just as importantly, her penchant for developing a winning culture both as a head coach and as an assistant was mentioned frequently by her peers and administrators. Certainly her history as an elite player in the ACC and her background growing up in the highly-competitive Baltimore lacrosse scene were positives, as well as her family ties to Virginia Tech and experience recruiting in the ACC. We’re pleased to welcome Kristen and her family to Blacksburg.”

“I sincerely appreciate the confidence that Whit and his team are placing in me,” Skiera said. “I’m honored for the opportunity to serve as a head coach and at a university as respected as Virginia Tech, competing in the preeminent women’s lacrosse conference in the country. Growing up as the daughter, sister and niece of Virginia Tech alums, I’m well versed in the rich history and tradition of Virginia Tech, as well as the beautiful campus setting in Blacksburg. Watching from afar, it’s apparent that the Hokies can definitely can compete with the best programs in the nation. There are so many positives to sell at Tech. I can’t wait to meet the team and get to work. Go Hokies!”

Skiera successfully guided Army’s transition from a club team to a varsity sport in 2015 and led the team to four consecutive winning seasons. Competing in the Patriot League, the Black Knights compiled a 46-40 record at the varsity level under her leadership. She also helped the squad turn in four consecutive seasons with a winning record at home, posting a 19-6 mark at Michie Stadium from 2018-21. Skiera has developed 12 All-Patriot League performers, as well as the program’s first-ever Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Caroline Raymond.

The Black Knights boasted three first-team all-conference performers under Skiera in 2021, including Army’s all-time leading scorer, Jackie Bratton. Despite a truncated 2020 campaign, the Cadets produced a 7-0 mark to make them just one of eight NCAA Division I women’s teams to finish the year undefeated. Army ranked first in the nation in draw control percentage (.677), tied for second in fewest goals allowed per game (7.29) and ranked 15th in scoring offense with 15.29 goals per contest. The Black Knights held six of their seven opponents to single-digit goals and ranked seventh in the nation in scoring margin after outscoring the opposition by 8.0 goals per outing.

Skiera elevated the Army program to new heights in 2019. She not only guided the team to a school-best 14-5 record, but also to a third-place finish in the Patriot League standings after registering a program-best 6-3 mark in league play. Army competed in its first-ever league tournament and claimed a quarterfinal win vs. Lehigh. The 2019 season included a seven-game winning streak to start the year, as well as a program-high nine home victories.

She arrived at West Point after spending two years as an assistant coach at her alma mater under head coach Kerstin Kimel. During those two seasons, Skiera helped lead the Blue Devils to back-to-back NCAA Tournament quarterfinal appearances, along with producing four Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-Americans.

Before returning to Duke, Skiera served as an assistant coach at Navy for two seasons, working with Hall of Fame head coach Cindy Timchal. While in Annapolis, Skiera helped Navy to a combined 33-9 record, back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and Patriot League Championships in 2011 and 2012. She spent the 2010 season as an assistant coach with UC Davis’ women’s lacrosse program and helped dramatically increase the Aggies’ offensive production. The Aggies racked up 14.06 goals per contest in 2010 after netting 10.06 goals per game in 2009.

Prior to her time at UC Davis, Skiera worked two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach at Navy, aiding the Midshipmen in their transition from the club level to Division I for the 2008 campaign. In 2008, Skiera served as the co-head coach of the Dutch national women’s lacrosse team, leading the squad in the 2008 European Lacrosse Championships in Lahti, Finland.

The Ellicott City, Maryland native completed an impressive four-year playing career at Duke in 2007, twice earning All-America honors and was a semifinalist for the Tewaaraton Award. She graduated as the school’s career leader in assists (116) and ranked second with 277 points. Additionally, Skiera is tied for fourth on the Blue Devils’ career goal scoring list (161). She was part of Duke squads that won four regular season ACC championships, as well as one ACC tournament title.

In January of 2018, Skiera was inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Greater Baltimore Chapter Hall of Fame. She began her stellar career at Mt. Hebron High School where she led the team to four consecutive state titles. She was named Baltimore Sun Female Athlete of the Year, twice (2002 & 2003) and was the All-Metro Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year as a senior in 2003.

Skiera married her husband, Kyle, in 2016. The couple has a daughter, Caslen.

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Shannon Gilroy

Virginia Tech head coach Kristen Skiera announced the hiring of Shannon Gilroy as associate head coach of the Hokies in July of 2021. Gilroy and Skiera have worked together for the past five years at Army where Gilroy held the same title.

“I am super grateful and excited to welcome Shannon and her fiancé Pat to Blacksburg,” Skiera said of Gilroy. “When I think about our goals and vision for the program at Virginia Tech, Shannon is the perfect coach to help them come to fruition. I have had the luxury of working with Shannon over the past five years at Army and have witnessed her unbelievable work ethic, poise and ability to develop confident athletes and leaders. I am so excited for the student athletes in our program to be able to be mentored and developed by Shannon.”

Gilroy joined the Army West Point women’s lacrosse coaching staff in August 2016 and in just five years on the staff helped develop Army into not only one of the top draw control and offensive units in the Patriot League, but also in all of Division I. Over the past three seasons, the Black Knights have finished in the top four in the league in draw controls and inside the top-four in goals per game while setting program records in numerous offensive categories. During that stretch, the Cadets have also ranked inside the top-30 nationally in draw controls per game.

Offensively the Cadets put on a strong showing, finishing third in goals per game (12.78) while topping the rankings in shots per game (31.78). The high-powered Army attack guided the team to a 5-2 conference record and a five-game win streak to end the regular season. Gilroy's guidance also resulted in a league-best 11.44 turnovers per game.

Despite a shortened 2020 season in which the Black Knights were one of just eight teams in Division I with an undefeated record, Gilroy had the Cadets on a scoring tear through the first seven games of the year. On top of carrying a 7-0 record, the Black Knights boasted the nation’s top draw control unit after winning 68 percent of their draws. Army had scored in double figures in each of the seven outings while ranking 15th nationally in goals per game (15.29).

Gilroy was part of program history during the 2019 season as the Black Knights played to a program-best 14-5 record and a third-place finish in the Patriot League standings after recording a 6-3 mark in league play. Army played in its first-ever league tournament and claimed a, 12-9, win in the quarterfinal round versus Lehigh at Michie Stadium. The successful season also included a seven-game winning streak to start the year, a program-high nine home wins and countless records broken.

Gilroy worked closely with Jackie Brattan, who led the nation in free position shot percentage as a sophomore and became first cadet in program history to eclipse 100 draw controls in a single season. Julianna Dworschak and Samantha Stewart also were threats on the draw, compiling career highs of 87 and 79, respectively. The trio were one of just three in 2019 to all record over 70 draws for the season, joining the likes of Boston College, Notre Dame and Maryland. For the season, Army finished 16th nationally in draw control percentage (.574) and tied for 17th in draw controls per game (15.32).

Gilroy also helped coach Brattan, Stewart, Manuela Cortes and Caroline Raymond to All-Patriot League postseason honors. Raymond was additionally tabbed the rookie of the year in the Patriot League and by the ECAC following a year in which she set the program record for points and assists.

In 2018, Gilroy also worked with one of the deepest draw control units in the nation as Amy Johnston (85), Stewart (47), Brattan (46) and Dworschak (42) were one of just eight units with four different players recording 40 or more draw controls, along with Boston College, Coastal Carolina, High Point, Maryland, Navy, Princeton and San Diego State.

She mentored Johnston to the program’s first All-Patriot League First Team honors and at the time, a program-record 85 draw controls. Johnston became one of two players in program history at the time to eclipse 100 career points, joining teammate Rachel Hornick.

The Black Knights were equally deep in the attacking zone with eight players posting 20 or more points, six of whom eclipsed the 20-goal mark. Hornick led the offensive group for the second consecutive year in goals (25), assists (23) and points (48), documenting the program’s first season with 20 goals and 20 assists.

In her first season at Army, Gilroy instructed Hornick to the program’s first 50-point season with 40 goals and 13 assists. She also worked closely with Army’s first postseason honorees as Manuela Cortes and Kiersten Spencer were named to the All-Patriot League Second Team.

Prior to West Point, Gilroy worked primarily with the attack and midfield units at Vanderbilt and mentored Second Team All-BIG EAST honorees Kelly Chandler and Emma Dagres.

Gilroy also brings a wealth of top-level playing experience, including competing on the United States Women’s National Lacrosse Team since June 2015. She was one of 24 players to represent the United States during a foreign tour to England in the summer of 2016.

She has gained additional experience as a member of the Long Island Sound of the United Women’s Lacrosse League, the world’s first-ever professional women’s lacrosse league. Gilroy was drafted 10th overall by Long Island during the inaugural United Women’s Lacrosse League Draft in April 2016.

Prior to playing at the national and professional levels, Gilroy enjoyed a standout playing career at the University of Florida, where she was a two-time finalist for the Tewaaraton Award presented annually to the top player in the nation.

A three-time All-American at Florida, Gilroy helped lead the Gators to three conference titles and four appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including a trip to the Final Four in 2012. She was named BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year in 2015, while earning All-Tournament Team honors each year. - in the American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and in the BIG EAST in 2015. Additionally, Gilroy was named ALC Midfielder of the Year in 2014 and was an Inside Lacrosse BIG EAST Player of the Week.

Gilroy finished her career ranked tied for eighth in the NCAA Division I record books in career goals (256) and tied for 16th in points (320).

Gilroy graduated from Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 2015.

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Mary Claire Byrne

Virginia Tech head coach Kristen Skiera announced the hiring of Mary Claire Byrne as an assistant coach of the lacrosse program in August of 2021 rounding out her on-field staff heading into the 2021-22 academic year.

Byrne served as an assistant coach for the ECU women's lacrosse for two seasons, spanning the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

The 2020 campaign was Byrne's first in Greenville and showed signs of promise before the Covid-19 Pandemic cut the season short after just eight games. The Pirates were 5-3 in the shortened season, tying the 2019 team for the most wins in the program history. Byrne saw Megan Tryniski set a new single-game ECU record when she had eight points on four goals and four assists in a comeback win over VCU.

The Pirates also saw Megan Pallozzi and Ashley Vernon earn AAC Attack Player of the Week and AAC Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, after beating Campbell. Pallozzi and Vernon are now the fifth and sixth players to earn AAC Weekly Awards since the conference started sponsoring women's lacrosse in 2019.

In 2021, the Pirates landed four student-athletes on the All-American Conference Second Team.

Byrne, who competed for the Hokies from 2014-2019 finished her career with 81 points in 59 career games. The McLean, Virginia, native left Virginia Tech ranked third all-time in caused turnovers in program history (96) and sixth in ground balls (128). She was a 2019 IWLCA Senior All-Star after having her best offensive season in Blacksburg, racking up 23 goals, 12 assists, 42 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers.

Byrne was a three-time ACC All-Academic Team selection and made the ACC Honor Roll during all five of her seasons in Blacksburg. During the 2018 campaign, she helped the Hokies reach the NCAA Tournament, marking the first such postseason berth in program history.

She owns two degrees from Virginia Tech, earning her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a minor in sports marketing and earning a Master's in agriculture and life sciences.

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