Monica Yeakel enters her eighth year as Head Coach of UMBC Women's Lacrosse and the Retriever mentor has positioned the program as a contender for the NCAA Tournament on a yearly basis. UMBC won the Northeast Conference crown in five of six seasons, and earned NCAA berths in both 2002 and 2003. Although the Retrievers will enter the tougher America East Conference this spring, their #3 selection behind nationally-ranked Boston University and New Hampshire in the pre-season poll indicates the level of respect that UMBC has attained.
Just three years removed from an All America season as a player in 1994, Coach Yeakel took the reigns of the Retrievers in the fall of 1996. After her inaugural season netted a 5-9 record, she blended several key veterans with 13 freshmen and produced a perfect 5-0 record in the Northeast Conference (9-9 overall) and a league title in the first year of NEC women's lacrosse competition. In 1999, UMBC won a school Division I record 12 games, while repeating as undefeated Northeast Conference champions, and took the league title for the third time in 2000. The Retriever mentor was named NEC Coach of the Year for her efforts that season. She has also produced that league's Player of the Year (Jen Dragoni, '03, Jamie Gerhart, '02) and Newcomer of the Year (Kelly Fiorani, '03, Stephanie Crouch, '02) in each of the last two campaigns.
In recent years, UMBC has knocked off ranked teams, defeating Old Dominion in 1999 and George Mason in 1999, 2000, and 2001. Those victories have led to national recognition, including being ranked for the first time in school history in 2002.
Yeakel (nee: DiCandilo) has been associated with success as both a player and as a coach at each step in her career. A native of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, she was a two-time high school All American and helped bring Marple Newtown HS to a state title in 1987.
Despite career-threatening knee surgery at Loyola College, the Retriever mentor amassed a bevy of individual and team honors. She was team captain of the Greyhounds for two seasons, and in 1994, earned Colonial Athletic Association First Team, Senior All Star, and All America.
Yeakel was a member of two of Loyola's "Final Four" and CAA Championship teams. After graduating with a degree in Elementary Education, she played for the 1994 and 1995 United States Developmental squads.
In addition to her post-graduate playing experience, Coach Yeakel joined the coaching staff at Loyola and helped the team to another Final Four appearance. She also was a full-time elementary school teacher in Baltimore during the 1994-96 years. At this time, she conceived and promoted a Loyola outreach program where student-athletes tutored and coached children on a weekly basis, a program which she has continued at UMBC.
She currently lives in Timonium, MD with her husband, Chris, and their son, Luke.