Skip to content
Lehigh Carbon Community College

Photos courtesy: Tiffany Taylor and the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association

By Suzy Alstrin

The Reinhardt University Eagles captured its first 2024 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Women’s Lacrosse National Championship title in Savannah, Georgia on May 4th. With a final score of 18-10, they beat the defending champions, Lawrence Tech.

Head Coach Roy Reynolds received the NAIA Coach of the Year Award, and the NAIA named Shelby O’Neil (RU-2024) the most valuable player of the tournament. She made the all-tournament team along with Jillian Mello (RU-2023 & 24), Anna Marie Gazzo (RU-2024), and Angela Sciacchitano (RU-2024).

O’Neil, a biology major who graduated the day before, expressed joy about her team’s success. “This national title is the sum of all the years of hard work. I knew this year and this team was special. The national championship just proved it to everybody else. We worked on physical toughness, but at the end of the day it was the mental toughness that set us apart,” explains O’Neil. She adds that everyone on the team had a voice in how to keep improving, and by staying positive and treating each other with respect, her team became a family on and off the field.

“I was not expecting the MVP award at all.” said O’Neil. “This team is powerful because every player makes such an impact on the field. There is so much depth on our team, that it could have gone to anybody. The national championship game was my last game ever, and my goal was to give it my all.” She is not only grateful to her teammates, but to the University, “The encouragement this team has received from our Reinhardt family has been outstanding this year. The support between all different sports teams showing up for each other is such an awesome statement to the community that Reinhardt has built.”

Coach Reynolds credits the players and assistant coach Brian Landers for the honor he received, “My personal award just shows how much focus and love the team had that made me look good. The title is the result of a group of great young women setting goals, and accepting coaching and accountability to accomplish the top award a collegiate team can achieve. If you want the good things, you must work hard. This group of talented players showed they were willing to do anything to get better. They did the work and won the title.”

O’Neil’s plans include dental school this fall. Coach Reynolds plans to let this amazing accomplishment sink in and then focus on building the Eagles’ next title run.