By Jean DePlacido
---- — For the first time since 2002 the women’s lacrosse team at Assumption College had a winning season, and a major reason why was the work three local players did to solidify the defense.
Junior captain-elect Mary Guinee of Topsfield, who starred at Masconomet Regional, and former Danvers High standouts Allison Tivnan and Rebecca Cann anchored a defense that allowed only 13.2 goals per game for the Greyhounds, who tied the school record for wins in a season (9-8).
“The three of them together are huge threats on the defensive end of the field,” said Assumption coach Abbey Capobianco. “Next year they’ll take on leadership roles, and I could not be more excited for what the future holds for them.”
A sophomore, Tivnan is the first Assumption defender to be named to the Northeast-10 All-Conference second team, voted on by the league’s coaches. She was ranked fourth in the league in caused turnovers with 27, finished in the NE-10 top 10 in groundballs with 43 (with a season high 8 in a win over Grand Valley State University) while playing in all 17 games..
“Tiv was the anchor of our defense,” said Capobianco. “She’s an excellent defender; whenever we needed a big stop on defense, she would be the one to cause it.”
Tivnan and fellow sophomore Cann were three-sport teammates at Danvers High (soccer, basketball and lacrosse) and visited several colleges together. They were delighted when each chose Assumption.
“We’ve been best friends for such a long time, and I’ve known Mary a while because we played against each other,” said Tivnan, a human services major. “Rebecca and I both fell in love with Assumption.
“My grandfather told me I should play lacrosse in college when I was trying to decide on a sport. He loved the game, and said I would get a good opportunity in that sport. He was right.“
Cann started 16 games and played nearly every minute, earning praise from Capobianco for her tremendous improvement after not playing much as a college freshman.
“Rebecca stepped it up this season above any other player on the roster,” Capobianco said. “She fought very hard for her starting role and was a key to our team defense and midfield transition. She’s a role model for the underclassmen, as her work ethic is second to none and she’s like a sponge, soaking up everything whether from her coaches or her teammates.”
Cann said she was determined to do whatever it took to get on the field this season. She had been a midfielder, but wasn’t afraid to change positions when the team needed more help on defense. Both Guinee and Cann took draws for the Greyhounds, then moved back to defense.
“I love defense now and I’d like to stay there, but I’ll go where the team needs me again next season,” said Cann, who is majoring in biology.
“My coaches helped our defense become one, and it was awesome playing with Mary and Allison because we’re such good friends. I had to change my mindset to be more aggressive on defense and do everything quickly.”
Guinee played field hockey and ran track at Masco. The history major with a concentration in secondary education and minor in human services/rehabilitation studies received an academic scholarship to the Worcester institution.
As someone who has gone from attack wing to defensive middie in her career, Guinee has already has put her name in the Greyhounds’ record books as the all-time leader for draw controls in a single season (64).
“Mary is the heart and soul of our team, works harder than anyone else on the field, and I just cannot say enough good things about her,” said Capobianco. “She was unanimously voted captain for next season, has the top GPA on our team and is our constant pulse.
“Mary is one of a kind and has had an amazing career thus far. If she stays on track, she’ll shatter the career draw control record. She’s hardworking, reliable, and represents everything I am trying to build Assumption women’s lacrosse to be.”
Guinee wasn’t a bit surprised at how good the Greyhounds were this past season and hopes they can take it another step forward to include a playoff run next year.
“I had so much faith in my team; everybody came back in shape ready to play,” said Guinee. “Our coach has done an incredible job. My class was her first, and we’ve all improved so much and gained valuable experience.”