Sep 21, 2019
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Head coach Jessica Giglio. Photo courtesy Fresno State Athletics.

Lacrosse underperforms, coaching the problem?

The Fresno State women’s lacrosse season once again came and went without a whimper last Friday night when it lost to the San Diego State University Aztecs 18-15 in the semifinal of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Championship Tournament.

The Bulldogs finished the season with a 7-7 overall record, a 0-2 conference record and a four-game losing streak, finishing last in a conference that consists of only three teams.

This season marks the second time in back-to-back seasons the team has finished with a win percentage of .500, which is the program’s second-best win percentage.

This is also the second year in a row that the lacrosse team failed to win a single game in conference.

It seems as though there is a lack of competitiveness when facing the challenge of playing conference opponents, and the main question is why?

The women’s lacrosse team had its best season in 2017 when it had a 9-7 overall record, but a 2-6 conference record.

Before the 2017 season, their most productive season had been the previous year, when they went 5-10 overall and 2-7 in conference in 2016.

In the 10 years the women’s lacrosse program has been active at Fresno State, the team has never won more than two games in conference play.

The current head coach, Jessica Giglio, has been with the team since 2012 and has been part of the team’s current success.

Giglio’s overall record at Fresno State stands at 41-80, but what is more concerning is her conference record, in which she is 8-45.

In 2017, Giglio’s overall record was 16 wins and 57 losses, yet the administration gave her a contract renewal that included a raise and added two more years to her stay at Fresno State, which is scheduled to end June 30, 2019 pending a contract renewal.

The team’s recent success comes in part due to its schedule, which has it playing east coast programs that are equal to or below the talent level that Fresno State has put on the field.

Take, for example, this season, in which the team had seven wins and from those, only one team, Bryant University, had a winning percentage of .500 with an 8-8 record. The rest of the teams they defeated this season all had losing records.

The women’s lacrosse team had experience this season and proven scorers, including juniors Tiffiny Wallace (54 pts) and Marino Mayo (32 pts), along with senior Ryleigh Bone (37 pts). Couple that core with young talent like sophomore defender Abbigayle Roberts and MPSF Rookie of the Year Sydney Skalstad.

The trio of Roberts, Wallace and Skalstad were All-MPSF selections, along with Kayla Galet, Olivia Mannon and Laurel Maunder, showing there is talent on the field that you can build a program around.

One question that needs to be raised is, why, with the talent that is currently on the roster and the talent that has been on the rosters in the past, is the team underperforming and lacking the competitiveness to have success year after year?

Giglio’s contract is once again up for renewal as of June 30, 2019, and the uncertainty of whether or not the Bulldogs are a team that is on an upswing or a team whose fate will always be stagnant and filled with mediocrity should come into play for the university.

Two sports that are examples of enormous success in recent years would be the men’s basketball program and the football program, which, despite different circumstances, have led to success due in large part to coaching changes.

Why should we hold lacrosse to different standards and expectations than many of the sports that take up residency at Fresno State?

Giglio’s lack of success in the years leading up to her third contract negotiation with the university should bring into question what the basis would be to bring her back for another contract?

The bottom line is that Fresno State wants to have a competitive women’s lacrosse program. This regime’s time may have run its course, and it might be time to move on.

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