University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati Athletics
Richard E. Lindner Ctr 2751 O'Varsity Way Cincinnati, OH 45221
Division 1 Ohio Midwest
Public Very Large National competitor


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Gina Thomas (Oliver)

All-American and two-time World Champion Gina Oliver is heading into her eight season as the head coach at the University of Cincinnati in 2020 and, coming off the best season in program history that saw the Bearcats reach the postseason for the first time as well as finish as the runners-up in the inaugural American Athletic Conference season, will look to once again take the Bearcats to new heights.

In 2018, the Bearcats strung together six wins in a row early in the year for the longest streak in program history on their way to records for wins (8) and winning percentage (.471). To get there, UC produced solid stats on both sides of the ball throughout the year, including 501 ground balls and an average of 29.47 per game, both of which led the NCAA. Offensively, the Bearcats broke single season program records for points (287), goals (201), assists (86), shots (504), shots on goal (371), man-up goals (12) and free-position goals (43). Along with their ground ball numbers, the defense also caused 187 turnovers, also a program record.

Individually, several Bearcats were solid once again, including Monica Borzillo, who was named All-BIG EAST Second Team for the second year in a row after accumulating 69 points on 42 goals and 27 assists, all of which ranked in the Top 10 of the conference. Two players recorded nearly 50 ground balls each on the year with freshman Morgan Dukes leading the way with 49 and Sam Mlkvy posting 48. Also on the defensive end, Giuliana Durso turned in a single-season record 161 saves and a 44.7 save percentage to help the Bearcats to several big wins, most notably a 17-12 win over Ohio State, the first victory in the series in program history.

UC increased its win total in 2017 and had Borzillo and Amanda Donovan named Second-Team All-BIG EAST Conference. Borzillo finished the season with 39 goals, a school-record 34 assists and 73 total points, leading the team in all categories, and ranking fourth in the BIG EAST with 2.00 assists per game, was second on the team with 33 points off 25 goals and seven assists while also ranking first in caused turnovers (28), fourth in ground balls (33) and fourth in draw controls (26).

The 2016 season saw the Bearcats double their win total from a season ago, while defender Kyara Byner became the first player in program history to earn first team All-BIG EAST honors, as well as All-Region honors from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association.

The 2015 campaign saw a UC player earn postseason honors from the BIG EAST Conference for the first time in program history. Courtney Curtis was named second team All-BIG EAST after leading the team in goals at 37.

In 2014, Oliver coached the Bearcats to six victories, including a program record five-game winning streak that saw the team receive votes in the Brine/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll for the first time ever. This was after losing the team’s top scorer, Megan Bell, to injury in just the seventh game of the year. Five different Bearcats earned weekly honor from the BIG EAST Conference during the season, including Bell as Offensive Player of the Week and goalie Meg Gulmi as Defensive Player of the Week.

Her debut season in Cincinnati saw the 2013 Bearcats match the program record with seven wins, highlighted by the school’s first-ever BIG EAST victory over Rutgers to cap the season. Bell led the team in scoring, while Gulmi started every game as a rookie and averaged a league-best 8.88 saves per game. The win totals in 2013 and 2014 marked the best consecutive seasons in program history until the 2017-18 campaigns came along when UC won six and eight, respectively.

Oliver spent the previous five seasons at Duquesne (2008-2012) as the Dukes’ defensive coordinator, where she produced a 2012 Atlantic-10 Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. During her time at Duquesne, Oliver coached six IWLCA All-Region players, 21 all-conference honorees, 13 members of the A-10 All-Rookie Team and 12 student-athletes who won academic all-conference accolades.

A 2005 graduate of Ohio State, Oliver spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons on the Buckeyes staff, working under OSU head coach Sue Stimmel. While in Columbus, Oliver served as co-director of the Ohio State Women’s Lacrosse Camp, while also assisting with recruiting, budgeting and scholarship duties, as well as travel and team practice planning.

Oliver was one of 18 players on the U.S. Women’s National Team that won gold at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Cup in 2013. Playing as a defender at the World Cup, Oliver recorded 10 ground balls and caused seven turnovers. The highlight came as she was named the player of the game in Team USA’s 21-8 semifinal win over England after causing three turnovers and picking-up four ground balls. It was the second FIL World Cup gold for Oliver, who also won the World Cup in June 2009 and was named to the All-World Team, which is awarded to the best 12 players in the world.

A standout midfielder at Ohio State (2002-05), Oliver was a four-year letter winner for the Buckeyes and earned All-America honors three times. During her career, she collected All-America honors from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (second team in 2003 and third team in 2004), (first team in 2003 and third team in 2005) and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse (first team in 2003). She was the American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Year in 2003 as Ohio State won the American Lacrosse Conference Championship and the league’s rookie of the year in 2002. Oliver was also a four-time, First-Team All-ALC selection.

The Pottstown, Pa., native closed out her time at OSU as the program’s career leader in ground balls (236) and caused turnovers (201) and was second in draw controls (121). She also was third in career points with 166 while ranking second in goals scored (125) and sixth in assists (41).

Oliver earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio State in 2005.

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Shannon Witzel

The 2020 season will mark the eighth year Shannon Witzel has served as an assistant coach for the University of Cincinnati lacrosse program with the former All-American looking to help continue the program’s upward trend after last year’s best season in program history. Witzel will once again continue her work with the defense and goalies this year, two groups that have continued to grow under her guidance.

In 2018, the Bearcats broke numerous records, both offensively and defensively. Overall, UC led the nation in ground balls (501) with 29.47 per game while also forcing a team-record 187 caused turnovers, the fourth year in a row the Bearcats reset the mark. The Bearcats goalies also had one of the best statistical seasons in program history as the group ranked tied for second with 171 saves, third in goals against average (12.63) and third in save percentage at 44.2.

Prior to her work with the defense, Witzel worked with the offensive side of the program, including Courtney Curtis, who was named to the 2015 All-BIG EAST Second Team, the first time a member of the program had earned league honors. Curtis led the team with 39 points on 37 goals and two assists with her points ranking her fifth in UC single season history at the time. Curtis also set program marks for man-up goals scored (4) and free-position goals scored (13).

In her time with UC, the Bearcats have twice broken the record for wins in a row, first with a streak of five in a row in the 2014 season before last year’s record six wins in a row. The six years in Cincinnati have also seen the Bearcats tie the season record for wins (seven in 2013) before breaking the mark last year.

Prior to coming to UC, Witzel spent the 2012 season as an assistant coach at LaSalle, where she helped the Explorers to a 10-6 mark and set the program record for wins in a season. Witzel also was on the staff at LaSalle in 2009, before spending two years as a development assistant at her alma mater, Towson.

Witzel’s first coaching job was as a volunteer assistant for the Tigers, where she worked primarily with midfielders and defenders. That season, Towson won their conference title while earning a top-20 national ranking and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

As a player at Towson, Witzel was one of the Tigers’ top players as she graduated from the program ranking among the best in history on the offensive side of the ball. A 2006 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-America Third Team honoree, Witzel ranked tied for first in career goals with 208 while sitting third in career points with 255. In 2005, she set the single season record for goals with 71 and led TU to the Colonial Athletic Conference tournament title where she scored seven goals against Hostra to be named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

A three-time All-CAA honoree, Witzel also was tabbed IWLCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region twice in her career and also was added to the Tewaaraton Trophy Presason Watch List (national player of the year award). She bookended her career at TU with a pair of awards, first being named the Female Rookie of the Year in 2004 before capping her career as Towson’s Female Athlete of the Year (2007). She graduated in 2007 with a degree in sports psychology.

A native of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Witzel attended Pottstown High School, the same high school as head coach Gina Oliver. She is currently working toward a graduate degree in Health Education - Exercise Fitness and will graduate this spring.

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Caitlin Prince

The 2020 season will mark the second on the coaching staff for Caitlin Prince, who joined the University of Cincinnati lacrosse program in August 2018 as an assistant coach. Prince, a former standout student-athlete at Duquesne, comes to Cincinnati after serving as an assistant coach at her alma mater the previous two years.

“I am blessed and thankful to join Gina Oliver, Shannon Witzel and the entire UC staff,” Prince said. “I am eager for the opportunity to grow and compete as the program starts a new era joining the American Athletic Conference.”

“I can’t describe how excited I am to have Prince join our program,” Oliver said of the newest member of her coaching staff. “Having known her for years and having coached her, she has the drive and work ethic to help take us to that next level. It means a lot to me to be back working with her. She’s the perfect fit to help us continue to build our culture, recruit great people and players, and WIN here at UC!”

Prince, who earned degrees in sociology and communications from DU in 2014, served as the assistant coach for the Dukes in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Prior to that, she served as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Robert Morris, fulfilling those rolls for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

As a player for the Dukes, Prince put together a solid career that included scoring a single-season record 62 goals during the 2012 season. The third-leading scorer in program history with 162 goals to her credit, Prince also earned several accolades from the Atlantic-10 Conference, including being selected to the all-conference first team in both 2012 and 2014 while also being named to the all-freshman squad following her 2011 season. The 2012 season also saw her earn Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association (IWLCA) All-West/Midwest Region Second Team accolades while also earning A-10 Academic All-Conference honors.

A native of Sykesville, Md., Prince will now be a member of the same program as Oliver for the second time and the first as a coach. The first instance came in 2011 and 12, Prince’s first two seasons as a player with the Dukes, which also were the final two years Oliver spent as an assistant coach at DU before taking the reigns of the UC program in time for the 2013 campaign.

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