Jessica O'Brien took over as head coach of the Marist women's lacrosse team on September 29, 2010 and became the program's winningest coach four seasons later.
This past season the Red Foxes competed in the semifinals of the MAAC Championships for the sixth year and won their second first round postseason game under her tutelage. Marist competed as the no. 3 seed in the tournament and had six All-Conference student-athletes (two on each team). Senior Abigail Witczak was named the first ever MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year and 11 others were named to the conference's All-Academic Team.
In 2016 she led Marist to a 6-2 finish in MAAC play and led the Red Foxes to the no. 2 seed and a bye in the quarterfinal round of the postseason tournament. The Red Foxes competed in the semifinal for the fifth straight season before falling to Monmouth. Marist ended up 20th in the nation in assists per game (5.53) and 29th in points per game (16.35). O'Brien led five of her student-athletes to All-MAAC selections and 10 earned spots on the All-Academic Team. She also had her second major award winner in senior Allison Gionta, who was named the MAAC Offensive Player of the Year.
In her fifth season in 2015 she led Marist to an 8-9 overall record and a MAAC Tournament appearance for the third straight year. The Red Foxes took down arch rival Siena in double overtime to advance to the semifinals. Five of O'Brien's student-athletes earned All-MAAC selections and 15 were named to the conference's All-Academic Team.
In 2014 O'Brien was named Anaconda Sports Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for the second straight season. She led the Red Foxes to a 14-4 overall record and 7-1 mark in the MAAC. The 14 wins broke a single-season program record for wins. O'Brien and the Red Foxes claimed a share of the MAAC regular season title as well as the number one seed in the MAAC Tournament. O'Brien also led Marist on a 10 game-winning streak, breaking the longest winning streak in program history previously set in 2009. She was named MAAC Coach of the Year for the second straight year.
The 2014 Marist squad earned several conference awards, including Rookie of the Year in Abigail Witczak, three All-MAAC First Team members (Allison Gionta, Bailey Knapton, and Jamie Romano), four All-MAAC Second Team members (Christine Astarita, Kara McHugh, Tina Pumo, and Abigail Witczak), two MAAC All-Rookie Team members (Natalie Bonatori and Abigail Witczak), and a conference-high 15 All-Academic student-athletes (Bailey Knapton, Tierney Larson, Jamie Romano, Brooke Wickham, Christine Astarita, Lexi Brannigan, Sheri Fauvell, Liz Holmes, Emily Leonard, Tina Pumo, Erin Schroeder, Kirsten Viscount, Kaitlyn Brown, Kacey Carter, and Anna Petrunich).
During the 2013 season, the team finished with an overall record of 9-10. Marist finished third in the MAAC during the regular season with a conference record of 4-2, making it to the conference championship game. O'Brien was named MAAC Coach of the Year for leading her team to seven wins in its last nine games. Three players were named to the All-MAAC First Team: Ashley Miller, Tierney Larson, and Jamie Romano. Six more Red Foxes were named to the All-MAAC Second Team: Amanda Tuck, Ashley Casiano, Bailey Knapton, Christine Astarita, and Kirsten Viscount. Allison Gionta was named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team. Four players were named to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches' Association Academic Honor Roll: Jessica Irvine, Laura Lucchesi, Amanda Tuck, and Bailey Knapton. A conference-high 16 Red Foxes were named to the MAAC All-Academic Team.
After the 2012 season, eight of O'Brien's athletes were honored on All-MAAC teams while another 10 earned recognition on the MAAC All-Academic Team. All-MAAC Second Team selections included: Shannon Haas, Ariel Kramer, Ashley Miller, Ashley Casiano, Amanda Tuck, Jamie Romano, Christine Astarita, and Emily Leonard. As a team, the Red Foxes were named an IWLCA Academic Squad by maintaining a team GPA of 3.0 or better during the previous 2011 season.
In her first season at the helm, O'Brien led the Red Foxes to a 6-10 record and came within one win of making the MAAC Tournament. Under her tutelage, Marist had three first-time All-MAAC honorees: freshmen Jamie Romano and Bailey Knapton earned First Team nods, while junior Shannon Haas made Second Team All-MAAC. Seven other Red Foxes earned honors on the MAAC All-Academic Team.
O'Brien was an assistant coach at Wagner College prior to taking on the head coaching position at Marist. O'Brien was involved in a considerable number of on and off the field aspects of the program at Wagner. She worked primarily with the Seahawks' defensive and goaltending units while also serving as the program's recruiting coordinator. Additionally, she was heavily involved in organizing practices, travel, film exchange, and fundraising while also monitoring the team's academic progress. Wagner was an IWLCA Merit Squad in 2009 and an IWLCA Academic Squad in 2010.
O'Brien has served as head coach of the Liberty Lacrosse Club on Long Island for the past three summers. In that position, she has coached 25 rising high school seniors in summer tournaments and showcases.
O'Brien was a four-year member of the Marist women's lacrosse team, playing for the Red Foxes during the 2005-08 seasons. She twice rebounded from season-ending injuries to score 42 goals in 51 career games. O'Brien totaled 86 ground balls, 51 caused turnovers and 47 draw controls in her playing career.
In her senior year, O'Brien was an integral part of the Red Foxes' first conference championship team. She scored a career-high 20 goals and also set a career high with 22 caused turnovers while playing in all 19 of the team's games.
O'Brien earned her B.A. in Communications-Advertising with a minor in Studio Art from Marist and her M.B.A. in Management from Wagner.
|2017||5-3||10-9||3rd in MAAC|
|2016||6-2||9-8||2nd in MAAC|
|2015||3-5||8-9||5th in MAAC|
|2014||7-1||14-4||MAAC Regular Season Champions|
|2013||4-2||9-10||3rd in MAAC|
|2012||3-3||4-13||5th in MAAC|
|2011||2-4||6-10||5th in MAAC|
Marist Accolades Under O'Brien
Offensive Player of the Year (1): 2016 - Allison Gionta
Goalkeeper of the Year (1): 2017 - Abigail Witczak
Rookie of the Year (1): 2014 - Abigail Witczak
2x MAAC Coach of the Year: 2014, 2013
All-MAAC First Team (15): 2017 - Olivia Pitonzo and Abigail Witczak 2016 - Allison Gionta and Kara McHugh. 2015 - Christine Astarita, Allison Gionta and Kara McHugh 2014 - Allison Gionta, Jamie Romano, and Bailey Knapton. 2013 - Tierney Larson, Ashley Miller, Jamie Romano. 2011 - Jamie Romano and Bailey Knapton
All-MAAC Second Team (22): 2017 - Hailey Wagner and Gabby Childrose 2016 - Brittany Tricarico. 2015 - Sheridan Fauvell. 2014 - Kara McHugh, Christine Astarita, Tina Pumo, and Abigail Witczak. 2013 - Kirsten Viscount, Amanda Tuck, Bailey Knapton, Christine Astarita, Ashley Casiano. 2012 - Ariel Kramer, Ashley Miller, Jamie Romano, Shannon Haas, Emily Leonard, Amanda Tuck, Christine Astarita, Ashley Casiano. 2011 - Shannon Haas
All-MAAC Rookie Team (11): 2017 - Julia Luff and Samantha Mehalick 2016 - Audrey Cerrone and Hailey Wagner. 2015 - Morgan Jaycox 2014 - Abigail Witczak and Natalie Bonaroti. 2013 - Allison Gionta. 2012 - Emily Leonard, Christine Astarita, Sheridan Fauvell.
All-Academic Team (84): 2017 - Natalie Bonaroti, Madison Calkins, Audrey Cerrone, Shea Fitzpatrick, Gabby Childrose, Morgan Jaycox, Alyssa Pitonzo, Caroline Polymeros, Hailey Wagner, Stefanie Wenz, Abigail Witczak 2016 - Natalie Bonaroti, Madison Calkins, Annie Gilligan, Morgan Jaycox, Kara McHugh, Anna Petrunich, Alyssa Pitonzo, Amanda Sanchez, Stefanie Wenz, Abigail Witczak. 2015 - Christine Astarita, Natalie Bonaroti, Lexi Brannigan, Kaitlyn Brown, Hayley Burke, Sheridan Fauvell, Emily Leonard, Kara McHugh, Anna Petrunich, Alyssa Pitonzo, Tina Pumo, Amanda Sanchez, Erin Schroeder, Kirsten Viscount, Abigail Witczak. 2014 - Bailey Knapton, Tierney Larson, Jamie Romano, Brooke Wickham, Christine Astarita, Lexi Brannigan, Sheridan Fauvell, Liz Holmes, Emily Leonard, Tina Pumo, Erin Schroeder, Kirsten Viscount, Kaitlyn Brown, Kacey Carter, Anna Petrunich. 2013 - Christine Astarita, Ashley Casiano, Sheridan Fauvell, Liz Holmes, Jessica Irvine, Bailey Knapton, Tierney Larson, Emily Leonard, Lauren Lucchesi, Sabrina Mattera, Tina Pumo, Jamie Romano, Erin Schroeder, Amanda Tuck, Kirsten Viscount, Brooke Wickham. 2012 - Lauren Cobb, Shannon Haas, Jessica Irvine, Bailey Knapton, Tierney Larson, Laura Lucchesi, Jori Procaccini, Joanna Sheldon, Amanda Tuck, Brooke Wickham. 2011 - Erin Betsch, Jessica Guarino, Shannon Haas, Jessica Irvine, Laura Lucchesi, Jori Procaccini, Amanda Tuck.