Keirn and women's lacrosse team roll through first half of the season

Ethan Magoc photo: Junior Ally Keirn helps lead the women's lacrosse team to great 7-2 start.Ethan Magoc photo: Junior Ally Keirn has led the women’s lacrosse team to a 7-2 start.Five years ago, the Mercyhurst women’s lacrosse program was working to gain a foothold on the Division II landscape. Today, it is one of the best in the region.

Junior Ally Keirn has been a major contributor to the turnaround under coach Cecil Pilson, who took over in 2005.

Keirn scored her first collegiate goal and the first Laker goal of the 2009 season during a win against Gannon University. Since that goal, Keirn has been a force on the field.

In her freshman season, she started in 16 of 18 games. The Henrietta, N.Y., native was fourth on the team in goals and fifth in overall points that year.

Keirn first picked up lacrosse in fifth grade and has been perfecting it ever since.

“Lacrosse was a new sport in my town, and I tried it and just got totally wrapped up in it,” she says. “You have to understand that joining lacrosse is like joining a family and you travel with the girls and their families all year round—even when you join in fifth grade.”

Fast-forward to this season. Keirn is coming off one of the best statistical seasons in program history. She set the record for points in a season with 104 and assists with 57 while tallying at least one point in every game.

After her stellar sophomore season, Keirn was named PSAC preseason player of the year.

“Being preseason player of the year was a total shock to me. It was a wonderful surprise and I hope I can live up to all of that, but it makes me nervous. My main concern this season is to help our team get to the Final Four,” Keirn says.

So far, she has lived up to the billing, leading the team in assists (25) and points (45).

Despite the team’s high expectations, Keirn and her lacrosse family manage to stay grounded and have fun playing the game.

“Our practices are something else. We are always joking around, but still play hard and challenge each other to get better,” Keirn says. “There is no need to freak yourself out before a game.”

Keirn and senior Kimberly Masterson lead the Lakers, who have a 7-2 overall record. Masterson currently owns the team lead in goals with 32,

The type of unselfishness Keirn exhibits on the field is one that every great team needs. She is the type of player who looks for the assist rather than her own goal. That isn’t to say Keirn doesn’t score — she is second on the team in goals with 20 — but she does it with an excellent shot percentage of 45.

She takes each shot with her sights on the national tournament.

“So whatever needs to happen, I will be trying my hardest to help us get there,” Keirn says.

The Lakers play at East Stroudsburg Saturday, before taking on Indiana University on April 6 at home.