Women's Lacrosse Team and Four Players Earn Academic Awards from IWLCA

Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association logo

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University women's lacrosse team and four Bearcat lacrosse players have received academic recognition from the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) for the 2021-22 season. The WU women's lacrosse team was chosen as an IWLCA Academic Honor Squad. Willamette players Emma Canchola (Sr., DEF, Oregon City OR/Oregon City HS), Kiana Gottschalk (Jr., DEF, Bend, OR/Bend HS), Nina Hernandez (Grad., DEF, Valencia, CA/William S. Hart HS), and Laura Kelly (Sr., ATT, Mountain View, CA/Mountain View HS) were named to the IWLCA Division III Academic Honor Roll.

Student-athletes chosen for the Academic Honor Roll were juniors, seniors, or graduate students. Each player needed a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or higher in order to qualify. A total of 1,106 student-athletes from 195 NCAA Division III teams were named to the Academic Honor Roll.

The IWLCA Academic Honor Squads were teams from all three NCAA Divisions and the NAIA that achieved team GPAs of 3.2 or higher during the 2021-22 academic year. Overall, 400 teams were selected as Academic Honor Squads, including 155 teams in NCAA Division III. Willamette was one of five Northwest Conference teams that received the award.

Willamette earned a 12-5 overall record this season under the guidance of Head Coach Sarah Lautenbach and took second place in the NWC with a 9-3 mark. The Bearcats scored 230 goals for an average of 13.53 goals per game, including seven games with 17 or more goals. On defense, the Bearcats limited opponents to 10.06 goals per game and held 10 opponents to fewer than 10 goals, including a shutout of Augsburg University (Minn.) on March 16 for Willamette's first-ever shutout.

IWLCA Division III Academic Honor Roll

Headshot of Emma Canchola Emma Canchola (Sr., DEF) was named to the IWLCA Division III Academic Honor Roll for the second consecutive year. This spring, she was chosen First Team All-Northwest Conference for the third time after previously earning the award in 2019 and 2021. Canchola graduated this year with a major in Archaeology.

While playing for the Bearcats, Canchola set school records for career ground balls (158), ground balls in a season (66 in 2019), and ground balls in a game (10 versus Pacific University on March 30, 2019). She also forced 77 turnovers in her career and has attained 56 draw controls. She recorded a school record 11 draw controls against the University of Dallas on March 24, 2019.

Canchola has competed in 46 games -- all starts -- and has seen action in all but one game since Willamette began competing in women's lacrosse in 2019. She was chosen Team MVP in 2019 and was WU's Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. This year, Canchola led Willamette with 49 ground balls, which ranked second in the NWC. She started all 17 games and forced 28 turnovers.

Headshot of Kiana Gottschalk Kiana Gottschalk (Jr., DEF) is working toward a double major in Biology and Environmental Science at Willamette. She played in and started 14 games in 2022 as one of WU's top defenders. She provided the Bearcats with 30 ground balls and three caused turnovers. She earned a personal-high seven ground balls against George Fox University on April 16 and contributed six ground balls against Whitworth University on April 9.

In 2021, Gottschalk competed in 11 games and finished the season with 20 ground balls and seven caused turnovers, including three forced turnovers versus Whitworth on April 11. During her career, she has started 25 games and registered 560 ground balls. She has forced opponents into 10 turnovers.

Headshot of Nina Hernandez Nina Hernandez (Grad., DEF) returned to the women's lacrosse team midway through the 2022 season after several Bearcats received injuries. She previously played lacrosse at WU from 2019 through 2021 after playing two seasons on the Bearcat volleyball team.

This spring, Hernandez saw action in six games and started each of those contests. She supplied the Bearcats with one goals, three ground balls, and two caused turnovers. She received a bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Willamette in 2021, and was working on a master's degree in Data Science in 2021-22.

She contributed to the Bearcats on defense and in the midfield during her career. Her overall totals include 36 games played, 36 starts, three goals scored, and two assists. She accumulated 30 ground balls and caused 17 turnovers. She forced three turnovers against Linfield University on April 3, 2021.

Headshot of Laura Kelly Laura Kelly (Sr., ATT) graduated from Willamette this spring with a major in Politics, Policy, Law and Ethics. During her career, she played in 47 games with 44 starts. She scored 60 goals, 24 assists and 84 total points, as she finished fourth on Willamette's career list in all three categories. In addition, Kelly registered 105 total shots, 85 shots on goal, 52 ground balls, and 27 caused turnovers. She earned a career-high five goals against Whitworth on April 11, 2021.

In 2022, she scored 34 goals (2.0 goals per game) and contributed 12 assists for 46 points. She took 55 shots and placed 42 shots on target. She was credited with 24 ground balls, and 10 caused turnovers. Kelly forced four turnovers versus Chapman University on March 25. She provided a .667 shooting percentage in 2021 and a .618 shooting percentage in 2022.

NOTE:  The class year listed with each student-athlete is for 2021-22.