Carol Daly Cantele '83 came full circle in her career at Gettysburg College when her team won the 2011 NCAA Division III championship in May 2011.
As a student-athlete, the former Carol Daly belonged to some of the best field hockey and women's lacrosse programs in school history. Her pinnacle as a player came in 1980, when the field hockey team captured the school's first-ever national title by winning the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Division III Tournament, the precursor of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
When Cantele returned to Gettysburg as head coach of both programs in 1992-93, she quickly elevated the Bullets to the national scene, with both squads earning Centennial Conference titles and NCAA Tournament berths. She stepped down as field hockey coach after the 2001 season to focus on lacrosse and her new role as Senior Woman Administrator in the Athletics Department.
Cantele guided Gettysburg to the school’s first-ever NCAA Division III championship in 2011. With a team consisting primarily of freshmen and sophomores, she led the Bullets to 19 wins and a runner-up finish in the Centennial Conference. Entering the national playoffs seeded seventh, Gettysburg blasted through Adrian College (25-10) and No. 16 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (18-11) to reach the regional championship game. The Bullets knocked off defending national champion Salisbury University 14-13 to reach the semifinals of the fifth time in six seasons.
Gettysburg continued its march by beating fourth-ranked SUNY Cortland 14-11 in the semifinals. In the title game, the Bullets recorded the largest margin of victory in 17 years with a 16-5 win over No. 11 Bowdoin College.
Following the season, Cantele was tabbed the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division III Coach of the Year. Cantele was named Division III Coach of the Year and Gettysburg was named the Division III Team of the Year by Inside Lacrosse. Recently, the Gettysburg Borough honored the team with Gettysburg College Women’s Lacrosse Day.
Entering her 20th season at Gettysburg in 2012, Cantele ranks as the program’s all-time wins leader with a record of 267-88. She owns a career record of 291-111 over 23 seasons and is on pace to become just the sixth women’s head coach (all divisions) to reach 300 victories.
Noteworthy, among the many lacrosse accomplishments from 2011 cited in the December issue of Lacrosse Magazine, Cantele was the only individual from an NCAA Division III institution to earn notice. Two Division III men’s lacrosse games – Tufts vs. Stevenson and Roanoke vs. Stevenson – were included in team polls.
Cantele also took home the highest percentage of votes for Best Women’s Coach in an online poll conducted by Lacrosse Magazine in late October and released in the publication’s December issue. Cantele earned the nod from the fans with 45 percent of the online votes, out-distancing U.S. U19 Team’s Krystin Porcella (31 percent), Northwestern University’s Kelly Amonte Hiller (16 percent), and University of Albany’s John Battaglino (eight percent).
Gettysburg will officially begin the defense of its national title on Feb. 23 when the team travels to the University of Mary Washington for a non-conference affair at 4 p.m.