GAME ON: Summer 2024 Edition

After missing the playoffs for the first time in 21 years last season, the men’s lacrosse team had an incredible bounce back season in 2024 that saw the Cardinals win the NESCAC Championship for the third time in team history (2009, 2017, 2024). Photo by Foley-Photography.

Yet another big winner this spring was the women’s lacrosse team, who reached new heights throughout the regular season and into the postseason. Wesleyan’s 2024 campaign saw the Cardinals go 16–4, recording the second-most wins in any season in team history. Nine of those 16 wins came against nationally ranked opponents, including four wins against Top 5 ranked foes. Kim Williams’ squad also rattled off a team record–breaking 10-game win streak during the season while also winning the Little Three title for the fourth straight year.

Wesleyan defeated Tufts twice in the season, handing the Jumbos a 17–15 defeat at home in the regular season and a convincing 15–7 win that secured the team’s first-ever win in the semifinal round of the NESCAC Tournament. The Cardinals also defeated Salisbury (13–7 on the road) and William Smith (13–10 at home) in the regular season, two teams who both advanced to the Final Four (National Semifinal) round of the NCAA Tournament.

Four Cardinals earned All-American honors, while five earned All-NESCAC selections—a single-season team record. Olivia Lai ’23 has the distinction of becoming the second Cardinal in team history to earn three career All-American honors while Laura Baine ’24 will graduate with 200 career points, the second-most by a Cardinal in team history.

Seven races, seven first place finishes, perfection personified is the 2024 men’s crew team. Undefeated in seven regattas, Wesleyan’s varsity 8 (top boat) started the spring season with a win over Coast Guard on the Thames River and finished with the Cardinals hoisting the trophy, having won the first national championship in team history. After sweeping through the regular season, including a highly anticipated rematch against Williams, the calendar flipped to May and the start of the postseason race calendar. Starting at the New England Championships, the Cardinals’ varsity 8 topped a field of 14 boats, including every crew ranked Top 5 nationally, as Wesleyan won the Rusty Callow Trophy (New England Championship) for the fifth time in team history (1967, 1987, 2004, 2019, 2024). The season reached a new high point at the National Invitational Rowing Championship where Wesleyan bested the run­ner-up Williams by just over one second to win the grand final and capture the NESCAC and National Invitational title for the first time in the team’s 56-year history. Phil Carney was named NESCAC Coach of the Year for the second time in his career while six Cardinals were named All-NESCAC, a new team record. Seeking redemption after finishing runner-up at the 2023 IRA National Championship, Wesleyan rowed the race of a lifetime, edging out Williams by .207 seconds with a D-III IRA record time of 5:41.53 in the 2000-meter race, winning the team’s first-ever national title.

The run of sheer dominance continued for the women’s tennis team in 2024, as the Cardinals didn’t lose a match until the NCAA Championship, finishing the season in the national title match for the third time in the past five seasons.

Wesleyan went 22-0 for the second time in three seasons, defeating 17 nationally ranked opponents on the way to the NCAA final. Looking to secure a fifth straight NESCAC title, the Cardinals defeated Hamilton, Williams, and host Amherst, to extend the team’s dynasty in one of the most competitive conferences in the nation.

Back in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth straight season, Wesleyan hosted the opening three rounds of the national tournament for the second straight year and third time overall in team history. The Cardinals defeated Stevens and Redlands to reach the NCAA Quarterfinal round for the sixth straight season.

Facing a familiar foe in Emory, Wesleyan held on for a thrilling 5-4 win over the Eagles, with Jackie Soloveychik ’27 earning the clinching point in a grueling back-and-forth battle. The following day, it was a battle of unbeatens as the Cardinals faced the two-time defending NCAA Champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. After falling behind 2-1 after doubles, Wesleyan rallied with four singles victories including a match-clinching win from Lane Durkin ’27 to send the Cardinals to the NCAA title match for the third time in team history (all since 2019).

Awaiting the Cardinals was the University of Chicago and after a nearly 4-hour back-and-forth battle that saw Wesleyan win match-extending second sets on three singles courts, it was the Maroons who came out on top in a 5-3 win.

Even with the graduation of 2024 NESCAC Player of the Year Caitlyn Ferrante ’24, five of the six main contributors in the lineup are back in 2025 as the Cardinals look to extend their dynasty.

For more on Cardinal Athletics, visit the Wesleyan Athletics site.

By Maxx McNall