Julie Duffy will begin her third season as the head coach of the Merrimack College women's lacrosse program in 2018-19.
After being named the seventh head coach in school history in July of 2016, Duffy and her coaching staff brought a new vision and mission to revamp the program and restore a winning culture, and that work paid off this past spring. Duffy guided the Warriors to their best season in school history, highlighted by a number of major milestones both on the team and individual front, and have the program set to succeed for the foreseeable future.
Following an inaugural campaign in which success was reflected beyond purely the win-loss total, Duffy brought in more young talent to compliment a returning cast of nearly every major contributor from the previous spring to form what promised to be a roster full of upside in 2018.
The end result proved to be well beyond what even the most positive prognostication could have predicted, as Merrimack blew by all preseason expectations with a school-record 14 wins, which were 10 more than the previous season and indicative of the greatest improvement from the 2017 season for any team nationwide in Division II. The Warriors garnered their first national ranking in six years after upending five ranked teams along the way. Merrimack lost back-to-back games only once all season and posted double-digit goal totals in all but two games. The Warriors had two separate five-or-more-game winning streaks over the course of the year after not having won more than three games in a row in any of the previous eight seasons.
Merrimack would go on to finish fourth in the Northeast-10 Conference standings, tying its best finish ever in the regular season conference ledger to earn the program's first berth in the NE10 Championship in six years. The Warriors would advance to the league tournament's semifinal round for the first time since 2011 before ultimately seeing their magical season come to a close.
While the Warriors were impressive on all three ends of the turf throughout the 2018 season, their offense was particularly notable after finishing the year ranked fourth in the NE10 in goals per game (15.63), third in total goals (297) and third in total assists (132). Merrimack also ranked 20th nationally in scoring offense while boasting a shooting percentage of 47.8 percent (3rd/NE10, 24th/NCAA). On defense, Merrimack boasted equally impressive figures with the fourth-best scoring defense in the league (10.84).
On the individual front, Duffy coached the program's first IWLCA's First Team All-Region selection in eight years in Amber Feminella '19, as well as a school-record seven NE10 All-Conference selections -- including Haley Bartlett '21, the NE10 Rookie of the Year and first major end-of-year NE10 award winner for the program in 11 years.
Duffy, who came to North Andover after leading the University of Findlay's women's lacrosse team from its inception over a five-year tenure, brought with her a recruiting prowess that has infused Merrimack with plenty of promising rookies who already have had a major impact this past spring. Even more are set to join the ranks in 2019, as the coaching staff looks to keep the momentum from this past spring growing.
Duffy's first season leading the Warriors featured the most wins in conference play in four years, as Merrimack quickly realized that it could stand up against plenty of the nation's top programs in 2017. Starting with a near-upset of a top-15 team in NYIT in the season opener, Merrimack would find itself in a number of close games over the course of the season, dropping three one-goal losses in total after nearly pulling off another upset later in the year at New Haven. In total, Duffy helped the Warriors claim four victories in her debut campaign, while she and the coaching staff helped develop a young nucleus on a team that featured 18 total underclassmen -- including 10 freshmen, many of whom were in the starting lineup game in and game out.
After being hired in the summer of 2016, Duffy and her coaching staff hit the recruiting trails early and often at the start of their tenure, and that helped ink 12 recruits to national letters of intent (NLI) for the 2017-18 season. The continued infusion of exciting, young talent has helped build the deepest roster in recent memory for the upcoming season.
Duffy was responsible for guiding the University of Findlay's women's lacrosse program from the ground up and spent five seasons with the Oilers. She saw her teams improve their win total each season and guided Findlay to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Association (GLIAC) Tournament Final in her final season as part of a school-record 12-win campaign.
Overall, Duffy compiled 34 wins over four years with Findlay, leading the team to postseason conference tournament berths in all four years of varsity competition. Duffy also helped get the squad off the ground and running by coaching the Oilers while they competed at the club level for the program's initial year of existence in 2011-12 before becoming full Division II members.
Individually, Duffy helped a number of her student-athletes earn individual accolades, including a two-time Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Association (IWLCA) All-American and All-Region selection, as well as a three-time GLIAC Midlfielder of the Year and a GLIAC Attacker of the Year.
Before that 12-win campaign – which also marked the school's first-ever winning season – Duffy led the Oilers to back-to-back eight-win seasons in 2014 and 2015. In the team's first year of competition in 2013, the Oilers won an impressive six games and went an even 4-4 in the highly competitive GLIAC, qualifying the league's postseason tournament and ending the year with a perfect record at home.
Outside of her responsibilities as head coach, the Westhampton, Massachusetts, native serves on the IWLCA Mentorship Committee. She had former stints as the NCAA Division II representative on the IWLCA board of directors and also was a member of the IWLCA All-American Committee.
Prior to her tenure at Findlay, Duffy served as the head women's lacrosse coach at Division III Ohio Wesleyan University from 2008-11, compiling a 21-25 record. She also currently serves as the head coach of the Midwestern Force Lacrosse Club, a position she has held since 2008.
She began her collegiate coaching career at Ithaca College, serving as a graduate assistant on the women's lacrosse staff after a successful playing career at Hartwick College.
Duffy graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science from Hartwick in 2007. She then completed her master's degree in exercise and sports science, with a concentration in sport psychology, at Ithaca during the summer of 2008.
Emily Boerger begins her third season with the women's lacrosse team in 2018-19. She serves as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the program.
Boerger assists in all aspects of the program, including recruiting, operations, scouting and practice planning. She works directly with the offense, and her guidance has helped taken the unit to new heights over the past two seasons.
In 2018, Boerger's offense ranked fourth in the Northeast-10 Conference in goals per game (15.63), third in total goals (297) and third in total assists (132). She also coached the program's first IWLCA's First Team All-Region selection in eight years in Amber Feminella '19, as well as three NE10 All-Conference selections -- including Haley Bartlett '21, the NE10 Rookie of the Year and first major award winner for the program in 11 years -- while helping the Warriors set a single-season program record with 14 wins as part of a historic campaign. Merrimack earned its first trip to the league tournament's semifinal round in seven years and was nationally ranked for the first time since 2012.
Boerger was a participant in the 2018 NCAA Women Coaches Academy, hosted in partnership between the Alliance of Women Coaches and the NCAA. She was part of a four-day educational training event designed for women coaches who are ready to increase their individual effectiveness by learning advanced skills and strategies that directly affect their personal and team success.
Prior to her arrival in North Andover, Boerger spent the 2015-16 season at Findlay as a member of head coach Julie Duffy's coaching staff. She helped the Oilers post a school-record 12 wins during her only season with the program. While in Ohio, she helped Findlay reach the GLIAC Championship for the first time in program history, and also instructed an All-American and All-Region selection, as well as the GLIAC Midfielder of the Year and four All-GLIAC selections. She also assisted in planning and directing practices, as well as the team's strength and conditioning program, while also recording and analyzing game film and statistics.
Prior to Findlay, Boerger served as a volunteer assistant coach with Ohio State from 2013-15. While with the Buckeyes, she helped assist with a Big Ten Tournament appearance and two trips to the NCAA Tournament. She assisted in planning and directing practices, coordinating skill development and analyzing all film statistics among other things.
Boerger graduated from Urbana University in 2013 with a degree in exercise science. She was a Second Team All-Conference pick for the Blue Knights in 2013 and holds four Urbana school records.