WATERVILLE — Individually, there is not much left for Jennifer Day to accomplish in her career with the Thomas College women’s lacrosse team.

The senior attacker from West Gardiner broke former teammate Megan Denby’s record for most goals in program history (108) with two games remaining in her junior season and was already the Terriers’ career leader in points when she did so. It will only be a matter of time before she eclipses the 200-point plateau, as she has 128 goals and 44 assists in her career after notching four scores in a 14-7 winover Rivier University in the team’s season opener on March 1.

That is why this season Day is savoring more than just the goals.

“I’m not going for anything specific other than just to enjoy it. Friends last a lifetime, the game ends,” Day said before practice Friday afternoon at Smith Field. “I’m ready for the fun aspect of it, but I’m also ready to win. We’ve been to the (North Atlantic Conference) championship two years in a row and it’s about time that it’s ours.”

In the past two seasons, Day and the Terriers have lost just four games in conference play, each to Castleton. Thomas was once again picked to finished second behind the Spartans this season in the preseason poll and, if the Terriers finally break through, Day will be a big part of it.

“It’s so exciting to be a part of a team with a player with such enthusiasm about the sport,” fellow senior, midfielder Brittany Premo, said. “She makes every practice worth going to, she’s a great leader (and) on the field she has this energy that everybody can feel. It’s really exciting to be a part of her scoring and assisting on those goals, and she always has this brightness about her that everybody feeds off of.”

Day may be the program’s top goal scorer, yet Premo also has her place amongst Thomas’ all-time top players. She scored a pair of goals in the win over Rivier and, if she can average a shade over two scores per contest the rest of the way, she will pass Denby for second all-time.

“Brittany Premo and I definitely get along when it comes to (chemistry),” Day said. “She’s an amazing player and we work well together.”

Premo and junior Erin Nelligan give the Terriers one of the NAC’s most formidable midfields. Nelligan — who opened the season against Rivier with an impressive six-goal, two-assist performance — credits playing alongside Day and Premo for helping her improve as a player.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play with them for the last few years,” Nelligan said. “You have Jenn who is the amazing attacker, Premo who absolutely dominates on the field and you just play off their vibes.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Allie McCarthy — who was the season’s first NAC defensive player of the week thanks to her 12-save performance against Rivier — is also back, as are top defenders seniors Jaclyn Hartwell, Toral Nelson and junior Crystal Leavitt.

The biggest change for the Terriers this season has come on the sidelines as Sarah Merrill has taken over for Lauren Bickford. A 2013 graduate of New England College, Merrill played against a number of her current players while with the Pilgrims yet that has not stopped her from earning the respect of her new team.

“She knows exactly where we’re coming from. She’s been in the same situations that we’ve been in before and it’s very easy to relate to,” Day said. “It’s not hard at all to talk to her so I think it really helps with our team chemistry, especially because we just had a coach who’s roughly the same age.”

Both Premo and Nelligan also noted that while they feel they can relate to their new coach, she also holds them accountable.

Thanks to the work of the maintenance crew at Thomas, the Terriers have already started practicing outside and are off to a fast start. The team will not know just how ready they are though until Saturday, March 28 when they welcome Castleton to Waterville.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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