Emily Boissonneault was hired as an assistant coach with the JMU lacrosse program in July 2015 and was promoted to her current role of associate head coach in July 2018.
Boissonneault is primarily responsible for running JMU’s defensive unit and also serves as the program’s recruiting coordinator.
“Emily has made a huge impact in our program over the past three years,” Head Coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe said. “She has helped me develop a defensive system for the JMU program that has become one of the most stifling units in the country. She has also worked hard to influence the effectiveness of our office administration.”
“It’s a huge compliment that Shelley and the athletics department value me to give me this title,” Boissonneault said. “I aspire to one day be a head coach, so to have this opportunity to take the next step with a staff I love and a team which allows me to do as well as I have is exciting. It’s a huge honor.”
JMU has reached three consecutive NCAA Championships, which included winning the 2018 national championship. Since her hire, the Dukes have gone 46-18 (.719), including an impressive 16-2 mark in Colonial Athletic Association play. JMU has also won back-to-back CAA championships in 2017 and 2018.
Over the past two seasons, JMU’s defense has ranked as one of the best in the country. After finishing the 2017 season with the 10th-best scoring defense, the Dukes ranked sixth in 2017 with a 9.26 scoring defense. JMU was also 14th in Division I in caused turnovers (10.87).
The Dukes won a record 16 games during the regular season, and after capturing the CAA tournament title was the No. 3 seed for the NCAA Championship, which was a program high. JMU earned NCAA wins against Virginia, No. 6 Florida and No. 2 North Carolina before fending off No. 4 Boston College to win the national championship.
Haley Warden, JMU’s leading defensive midfielder, became the first player in program history to win both CAA Player of the Year (2017) and CAA Defensive Player of the Year (2018) while earning All-America accolades. Defender Rebecca Tooker was a Honorable Mention All-American this past year while she and Caroline Sdanowich were tabbed All-CAA honorees.
In 2017, JMU was 10th nationally in scoring defense (8.95). JMU also ranked 14th in caused turnovers (10.95). They allowed nearly 1.5 fewer goals from 2016 to 2017 and also had improvements of 3.7 more caused turnovers and almost 5.5 more ground balls per game between years one and two.
The Dukes held opponents to seven goals or less in 10 games and five or fewer in five outings. In the first round of the 2017 NCAA Championship, JMU limited Louisville to only six goals to earn the program’s first NCAA victory since 2010.
In her inaugural year in 2016, she helped Caroline Sdanowich make the CAA All-Rookie Team as JMU earned an at-large bid for the NCAA Championship.
Boissonneault came to JMU from Winthrop, where she served as an assistant coach for three years. During the 2015 season, she helped coach the Eagles to a Big South Championship title. While at Winthrop, she focused on offensive technique and the team’s conditioning program. Her duties also included managing weekly practice hours and cutting game and practice film. She also took part in recruiting and meeting with potential players.
Her coaching career began at the club level, where she operated as head coach for the Bloomfield Hills Lacrosse club from 2010-2012 and for the Oshawa Lady Blue Knights under-15 women’s field lacrosse team in 2014.
The Ontario native still plays internationally, as she was a member on the 2013 and 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Cup Canadian National Team, as well as the 2017 World Games in Poland. Boissonneault helped guide Team Canada to the silver medals in all three tournaments, marking the best international finishes in Canada’s lacrosse history.
Boissonneault also plays professionally for the Boston Storm of the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX).
During her four-year college career at Detroit, Boissonneault finished with 242 goals, 193 ground balls, 157 caused turnovers and 143 draw controls. Her name is etched in the NCAA lacrosse record books as she sits in 10th place in career caused turnovers and 14th in career goals. She was also named Attacker of the Year for the National Lacrosse Conference in 2009 and Horizon League Woman of the Year in 2012.
Boissonneault graduated from Detroit in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in English and Special Education. She went on to receive her master’s degree in Sport and Fitness Administration from Winthrop in 2015.
She and her four younger siblings are all involved in the game. Her sister, Jack, is a recent Virginia Tech graduate (2015) and was a member of the Hokies’ women’s lacrosse team.