Hall of Fame head coach Cindy Timchal was named the first women's lacrosse coach at the United States Naval Academy on August 5, 2006, and in short order, has laid the foundation for a Navy program that is moving quickly in its quest to become a NCAA Division I power. Timchal, who is entering her 38th year as a head coach, is the NCAA's all-time leader in career wins (525) for division I women's college lacrosse. Additionally, her eight national titles are the eighth most by a coach in a women's sport in NCAA history, and the 26th most in all sports, men and women combined.
In her 13 seasons at the helm of the Midshipmen program, Navy has accumulated a terrific 191-56 (.773) record, won six Patriot League Championships and has advanced to seven NCAA Tournaments (2010, ’11, ’12, ‘13, ’17, ’18, ‘19). In 2017, Timchal and the Navy lacrosse team made history as it became the first Service Academy team from a women’s sport to advance to the NCAA Final Four. The Midshipmen followed the 2017 NCAA run with a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2018.
In 2020, Navy women’s lacrosse finished the season 2-4 overall in a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The season concluded prior to the Patriot League season.
Despite the shortened season, the Midshipmen finished the 2020 season ranked #21 according to the IWLCA Coaches Poll, extending their nationally rankings for 38 consecutive weeks, dating back to the final poll of the 2017 season.
Kelly Larkin (’20) was named Honorable Mention All-American by Inside Lacrosse, becoming a four-time All-American according to the publication. In addition, Larkin was named the winner of the Vice Admiral Lawrence Sword for Women, which is presented to that woman of the graduating class who is considered by the Association's Athletic Council to have personally excelled in women's athletics during her years of varsity competition.
Navy finished the 2019 season 16-5 overall and 8-1 in the Patriot League. For the third consecutive season (2017, ’18, ’19), the Navy women’s lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Tournament, finishing the year in the second round. The 2019 season marked the first time in program history that the Midshipmen earned an at-large bid into the Tournament. The Mids won the NCAA First Round game for the third consecutive season, defeating No. 24 High Point, 16-5.
As a team, the 2019 squad finished in the program's top three in points (494), points per game (23.52), goals (323), assists (171), assists per game (8.14), shots (709), shots on goal (528), draw controls (358), draws per game (17.05), caused turnovers (188), and games played (21).
During the 2019 season, five members of the women's lacrosse team were named to the 2018 All-Patriot League Team, including four selected to the first team.
Kelly Larkin, a junior, became Navy and the Patriot League's all-time leader in points (346), while also becoming the first player in school and conference history with three 100-point seasons. Senior defensive captain Marie Valenti became the first player in Navy history (sixth in Patriot League history) with 100 or more caused turnovers (114), while also becoming the Mids' all-time leader in ground balls (181).
The Navy women’s lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the second consecutive season in 2018. Navy, who finished the year 18-4, ranked sixth in the final national polls, marking the second consecutive season that the Mids have finished the season ranked in the top 10.
During the year, Timchal recorded her 500th career victory, becoming the first Division I lacrosse head coach to amass 500 wins.
On April 14, Navy posted a 20-7 victory over Army West Point at Michie Stadium, marking the first time in women’s lacrosse that the Midshipmen and Black Knights competed against each other as part of the Army-Navy Star Series presented by USAA.
As a team in 2018, Navy set the school record for points per game (24.41), goals (378), goals per game (17.18), draw controls (371), free-position goals (78), and saves (167), while ranking second in program history in points (537), assists (159), assists per game (7.23), shots (775), shots on goal (591), draw controls per game (16.86), and games played (22).
During the 2018 season, eight members of the women's lacrosse team were named to the 2018 All-Patriot League Team, four were tabbed All-American, and senior Jenna Collins was awarded the Vice Admiral Lawrence Sword for Women, which is presented to the woman of the graduating class who is considered by the Association's Athletic Council to have personally excelled in women's athletics during her years of varsity competition.
In 2017, the women’s lacrosse team finished the year 18-5 overall with an 8-1 record in the Patriot League. The Mids made their fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the first appearance for Navy since 2013. The Midshipmen began their historic run, advancing to the NCAA Tournament after posting a 15-5 victory over top-seeded Loyola in the Patriot League Tournament. The win marked the team’s fifth championship and ended the Greyhounds’ 41-game winning streak against PL foes.
In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Navy defeated No. 7 Penn, 11-10, at Penn Park on Dunning-Cohen Champions Field in Philadelphia, Pa. With the win, the Midshipmen advanced to the second round of the Tournament for just the second time in school history. The victory over the No. 7 Quakers was the first win against a ranked opponent in Navy history. In addition, it was the second NCAA Tournament win for Navy in program history. Navy posted a 23-11 victory over UMass in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the Mids to advance to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals for the first time in program history. The Mids defeated defending National Champions and No. 2 seed North Carolina, 16-14, to punch their ticket in to the first-ever Final Four appearance in school history.
As a team, Navy set the school record for points (545), goals (358), assists (187), shots attempted (805), shots on goal (607), ground balls (453), draw controls (364), caused turnovers (216), and games played (23). The Mids (18-5) finished one-win shy of tying the school records for wins in a season.
The 2017 Navy women’s lacrosse team finished the year ranked fourth in the final Inside Lacrosse Media Poll and sixth in the final IWLCA Coaches Poll. The rankings mark the first time in program history that the Mids have been ranked in the top 10 in either poll. It is the highest national ranking for any women’s team in school history.
Following the 2017 season, Timchal became one of six coaches inducted into the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) inaugural Hall of Fame class on Nov. 16, 2017.
In 2016, Navy returned to the Patriot League Championship for the second straight year. Earning the second seed in the league tournament, the Mids defeated No. 3 Boston University, 10-7. Navy looked to dethrone two-time league champion Loyola in the championship game, but felt short, 12-8, after a slow first-half start. The Mids finished the season with a 13-6 overall mark.
Timchal guided Navy back to the Patriot League Tournament Championship in 2015, following a year absence in 2014. The Mids cruised to the title game after decisive wins over Holy Cross (17-5) in the quarterfinals and Colgate (16-7) in the semifinals. Navy fell short of its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in six years as it lost to Loyola (Md.), 14-9, in Baltimore. The Mids capped off their season with 19-11 win over ACC foe Virginia Tech finish the season 15-5.
In 2013, Navy went to its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament, following a fourth-straight Patriot League title. The Mids went 6-0 in conference play to extend their unbeaten streak in the regular season to 12. Navy hosted the Patriot League Tournament for the second straight season, following its second Patriot League Regular Season title. The Mids defeated Lafayette (9-8) in the semifinals and Holy Cross (14-4) in the championship game.
The 2012 team advanced to a third straight NCAA Tournament after winning its third Patriot League title game. The Mids posted a 6-0 record during conference play to earn their first outright Patriot League Regular Season title and hosting duties for the postseason tournament. Navy breezed through the four-team tournament, outscoring its opponents by a score of 32-18.
The Mids received a challenging draw following the league title with a NCAA Play-In Game at MPSF-Champion Oregon. Navy rallied from a late 9-7 deficit to defeat the Ducks in overtime, 10-9, to advance to the NCAA First Round where the team would fall to No. 5 North Carolina, 14-7.
Navy finished the season ranked in the deBeer Media Poll for the third straight season in 2012, coming in at No. 19 in the year-end poll. Jasmine DePompeo became Navy's first Academic All-American in 2012, earning third-team honors while also appearing on the IWLCA All-South Region squad for the second straight year.
The Mids posted an 18-3 overall record in 2012, setting a school and Patriot League record for most wins in a season. Timchal was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year for the first time in 2012.
During the 2012 season, Timchal became the first college lacrosse coach, at any level and either gender, to win 400 career games and also received word that she would be a member of the 2012 induction class to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
The 2011 Navy squad proved that the program was poised to remain on the national scene. Upping its strength of schedule for the fourth-straight season, the Mids gained valuable experience by taking on top teams, including a home game against eventual national champion Northwestern.
The Mids entered the 2011 Patriot League Tournament as the No. 3 seed, but won two straight games, including rallying from a five-goal deficit to defeat top-seeded Colgate in the championship game.
After the Mids disposed of Quinnipiac in the NCAA Play-In Game, the 2011 season ended at top-ranked Maryland in the NCAA First Round. The Mids posted a 15-6 record in 2011.
Sophomore Jasmine DePompeo (’13) became the 54th All-American under Timchal after ranking third in the nation with 99 points scored.
It was a year of firsts in 2010, as Navy set a school and conference record with 17 victories, captured its first league tournament title and concluded the season ranked 19th nationally.
Along the way, the Mids broke their own Patriot League scoring record with 305 goals and produced both the program's first All-American, nation's leading scorer and conference player of the year in Erin Rawlick ('10).
It had been over a decade (13 years to be exact) since a new program qualified for the NCAA Tournament faster than the three years it took Navy. In fact, only two programs ever earned national tournament bids faster, with one of those squads being Timchal's fledgling Northwestern team in 1983. Timchal became the first coach in collegiate women's lacrosse history to lead three different programs to the NCAA Tournament.
Year two saw Navy put together another 13-win season in 2009. The Mids produced four league all-stars and advanced to the program's first-ever Patriot League Championship Game.
During its inaugural Division I campaign in 2008, Timchal led Navy on a historic run which saw the Mids set an NCAA record for wins by a first-year program with 13 and earn their first Patriot League Tournament appearance.
When all was said and done, Timchal and an underclassmen-laden Navy squad, wrapped up the season at 13-4, including an 11-0 mark on its home turf, and as the owners of the second-ranked scoring offense in the nation. Her on-the-field impact was undeniable, as Navy produced the second-highest clip in NCAA history (16.65 goals per game).
In 2007, Timchal provided a glimpse into the bright future for that lie ahead for Midshipmen women's lacrosse by leading the Academy's club squad to an 18-5 mark, including its first win over a Division I opponent and a runner-up finish at the USL/WDIA National Tournament.
Timchal's coaching career got its start at Northwestern in 1982. During her nine-year tenure with the Wildcats, she compiled a 76-40 record (.655) while leading the program to five NCAA appearances. While at Northwestern, Timchal made it to the quarterfinals, earning appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 1983, '84, '86, '87, and '88. In 1991, she made the move to College Park to revive and renew the strong tradition of the University of Maryland lacrosse program.
Prior to her arrival at the storied program, Maryland’s last title had come in 1986, but almost immediately the Terrapins restored their reign atop the sport. Timchal's first year saw a 14-3 mark and a trip to the NCAA finals. By 1992, the lacrosse world sensed something special was on the horizon at Maryland. Despite being at a place with a rich history in lacrosse, few could have predicted that a dynasty so powerful was on the horizon. With a 14-1 record, the Terrapins took the 1992 national title – the third in school history.
The 1993 season would bring a heartbreaking 7-6 loss to the Princeton Tigers in the NCAA semifinals. The following year led to further frustration with the Tigers, as a 10-7 decision left the Timchal's squad just one win away from hoisting the trophy yet again. In 1995, however, Timchal and the Terps turned the tables on the competition.
After the three-goal loss to Princeton in 1994 finals, the Terps went on to win 50 straight games. Timchal led the 1995 squad to a 17-0 run ending in a 13-5 defeat of Princeton for the NCAA title. Maryland went undefeated again in 1996, finishing with a 19-0 record and a 10-5 decision over ACC rival Virginia to take home the hardware.
Wearing the label of back-to-back NCAA champions, Timchal's squad maintained its dominance, posting a 21-1 record and falling just one goal short of putting together its third consecutive undefeated season. The dynasty continued through the '98 season despite a pair of road ACC losses to begin the year. That season ended the same way as the previous three, however, with Timchal's Terrapins being crowned the NCAA champions once again, this time behind an 11-5 win over Virginia.
In 1999, from top-to-bottom, Timchal's crew personified excellence, as they produced yet another undefeated season at 21-0 and the program's fifth-straight national title. The 2000 season saw the Terps stumble out of the gate with an overtime loss at North Carolina, but the "machine" could not be stopped as Maryland went on to win its final 20 en route to their sixth title in a row. Following the 2000 season, Timchal was named the National Coach of the Year by both the IWLCA and E-Lacrosse. She was also tabbed as the IWLCA South Region Coach of the Year.
The 2001 season once again saw Maryland run through its schedule without a blemish as the Terps outlasted Georgetown in a gut-wrenching double-overtime thriller in the title game to finish 23-0. The 23 wins still stand as the most ever by a team in a single season.
Individually, her athletes have earned countless accolades and awards. Maryland had 21 first team All-Americans in her last nine years, and 13 players took home national offensive, defensive or goalkeeper of the year awards. Jen Adams became the first-ever winner of the Tewaaraton Trophy, which recognizes the top collegiate men's and women's player in the country, and Kelly Coppedge was a finalist in 2004 and 2005. In 1996, Kelly Amonte became the Terps' first four-time All-American, including first-team honors in 1995 and 1996.
From Kelly Amonte Hiller to Cathy Reese, Alex Kahoe to Alexis Venechanos, Jen Adams to Kelly Coppedge, the one constant amongst all of the great Maryland players was Timchal. In just five of her 16 seasons at College Park did Timchal lose more than three games in any one season, highlighted by spectacular undefeated runs in 1996 (19-0), 1999 (21-0) and 2001 (23-0). She took Terrapin teams to the NCAA finals in 11 seasons, including an unprecedented stretch of seven straight national championships – the third-longest championship streak in women's NCAA history. In addition, the run puts Timchal in the company of coaching legends like UCLA's John Wooden who won seven straight titles with the UCLA men's basketball program from 1967-73.
A total of 53 different student-athletes earned All-America recognition a total of 95 times under Timchal including Kelly Amonte Hiller's four, (1993-96), and three each for Betsy Elder (1992-94), Sarah Forbes (1995-97), Laura Harmon (1993-95), Sascha Newmarch (1996-98), Jen Adams (1999-2001) and Kelly Coppedge (2002-04). In 2005, Acacia Walker earned first team honors, Greta Sommers was named to the second team and Annie Collines was named third team All-America. Adams' third-consecutive selection as Player of the Year in 2000 marked the 10th time one of Timchal's players have earned National Player of the Year honors, including Amonte Hiller, who was named the 1996 NCAA Division I Most Valuable Player. When the ACC's 50th anniversary Women's Lacrosse Team was announced in 2002, Timchal was selected as the head coach of the squad and had coached 22 members of the team.
Nationally, 18 of Timchal's players have played on the U.S. Developmental team and five were members of the most recent championship U.S. World Cup team. Seven former Terrapins helped lead Australia to the 2005 World Cup title in Annapolis, including tournament MVP Sarah Forbes. All totaled, 13 Terps represented three countries at the World Cup.
Beyond the numbers, though, Timchal has done her part to revolutionize the sport of women's lacrosse. Timchal brought some of the most influential names in the sport through College Park, including former assistant and lacrosse legend Gary Gait, and Terrapin stars Cathy Nelson and Jen Adams.
In addition, former Maryland players have become a fixture on national teams and within the collegiate coaching ranks, demonstrating the breadth of Timchal's influence. In 1996, she introduced a new wrinkle to her vast coaching repertoire as she brought aboard the wisdom of California-based spiritual advisor and renowned author Dr. Jerry Lynch to enrich the minds of her student-athletes. That decision complemented the already high level of physical conditioning it takes to excel at the Division I level and has since become a widespread trend used throughout the world of sports.
Since her first days in coaching at Northwestern, Timchal's focus has always been on the experience. And as impressive as her on-field success has been, her greatest accomplishments have come off of it. Throughout her career, her athletes have set the bar within the classroom as eight athletes have garnered a total of 10 Academic All-America accolades. In 2010, Mary Ruttum (`10) became the first member of Navy's program to be named the Patriot League Women's Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Jasmine DePompeo (’13) became the first Mid to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors when she was named to the third team in 2012.
Her dedication to her players has inspired a remarkable number of them to follow her into the coaching ranks. Twenty (20) of her former Maryland players patrol the sidelines on coaching staffs across the country, including Kelly Amonte Hiller (Northwestern head coach), Jen Adams (Loyola head coach), Kerstin Kimel (Duke head coach), Cathy Reese (Maryland head coach) and Karen McCrate (head coach of 2001 NCAA D-II Champion C.W. Post). Timchal's coaching tree also extends outside the sport and into field hockey, where former player Jennifer Averill has won three national titles at Wake Forest. She also served as a mentor to former Dartmouth head coach Amy Patton at Unionville High School.
Timchal, a graduate of Haverford High School, lettered in lacrosse, tennis and track and field at West Chester (Pa.) University before beginning a now legendary career coaching lacrosse at Unionville High School, where she coached field hockey, lacrosse and basketball. In 1979, she joined the collegiate ranks, becoming an assistant lacrosse and field hockey coach at the University of Pennsylvania.
Altogether, Timchal is a member of eight different halls of fame.
In 2012, Timchal was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and in 2017, she became an inaugural member of the IWLCA Hall of Fame.
In 2000, Timchal was inducted into the Haverford High School Hall of Fame. In 2004, she was inducted into the West Chester (Pa.) University's Hall of Fame. In 2009, Timchal was inducted into the Delaware County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Timchal is also a member of two US Lacrosse Hall of Fame Chapters: The Philadelphia/Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter (2002) and the Potomac Chapter (2006). Timchal was inducted into the University of Maryland Hall of Fame in 2012.