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Theresa Ingram enjoys everything about her job. Finding the little successes along the way is ultimately what keeps me coaching, she says. The mentoring I do, the relationships I build with my athletes, the teaching part that I ultimately love. But the challenging part is to find more wins.

For Ingram, who is in her fifth year as head of the womens lacrosse program, and her four predecessors, wins have been hard to come by over the years. The Ivy League has offered formal competition in the sport since 1980, and in those twenty-three seasons Brown has had just two winning seasons against Ivy competition, 42 in 1997, under coach Carolan Norris, and 43 in 1999, in Ingrams first year. In fact, the team has had only nine winning seasons overall and has never made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

After a solid first season with the players she inherited from Norris, Ingram and the Bears have slogged through three of what she euphemistically calls challenging seasons: 25 in the Ivies and 68 overall in 2000; 25 in the Ivies and 510 overall in 2001; and 16 in the Ivies and 59 overall last year. But Ingram believes a turnaround is on the horizon.

And shes not alone. At our annual coaches convention [in January], Ingram recalls, people would say, You had such a good season [in 2002]. Id say, We were 59. Theyd say, Oh, because theyd heard so many good things about us.

Have we built our reputation, and do our counterparts know were to be reckoned with? No doubt. We are reaping the benefits of the recruiting weve done and the strong schedule we play. As soon as we stop the almost-wins and actually have a big win, well be on our way.

The 2003 Bears return twenty-three players from last year, including nine starters and, most important in Ingrams view, six seniors. This is the most exciting year Ive faced at Brown, in that my seniors were the first class I brought in, she says. With that comes trust. Theyre more knowing of their coach and of each other. Now theyve geared up the kids underneath them.

Among this years returnees are the teams top two scorers. Christine Anneberg 04 led Brown with thirty-one goals and ten assists last year while earning second-team All Ivy and All North Region honors. Tricaptain Bekah Rottenberg 03, also a second-team All Ivy selection, whipped in twenty-eight goals last spring, including a five-goals-on-five-shots spree versus Northwestern; she also led the team in draw controls, with thirty-four. Ingram is also expecting a big senior year on attack from tricaptain Jocelyn Moore 03.

Laurel Pierpont 04, who is also a standout field-hockey player, is returning to head up the midfield. Pierpont, an All Ivy honorable mention selection last year, was second on the team in draw controls, with twenty, and added ten goals and five assists. And midfielder Emily Blanton 04, the Bears fastest player, may be on the verge of a breakout year, according to Ingram.

Finally, Brown returns three starters on defense: tricaptain Maggie Connolly 03; Deb Mendel 04, who has been a starter since her freshman year; and Anne Marie Evriviades 05, who enjoyed a solid rookie season in 2002.

One important transition will come at the net, however. Ingram is counting on Julia Southard 05 to fill the goaltending spot left vacant by second-team All Ivy pick Niki Caggiano, who graduated with a school-record 660 career saves last May.

Ingram figures her Bears are a year away from competing for the Ivy title, but she also thinks that one of the sixteen NCAA tournament berths is a very realistic goal. We need to get back to .500 first and not stop once we get there.

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