ITHACA, N.Y. -- Karen Hollands, who led Ithaca to four NCAA tournament berths over the past nine seasons, has stepped down as women's lacrosse coach at Ithaca College. The college will conduct a national search for Hollands' successor.

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“This decision has not been an easy one to make,” said Hollands, whose son was born last spring. “There is simply is no good time to make such a transition since each class of players is extremely special to me. I set very high expectations for myself and our staff to provide each player with an experience she can be proud of. As hard as it is to for me to make this decision, I know deep down that I simply cannot meet the standard of excellence the players expect, while providing the love and support at home my family deserves.” "

In nine years as Ithaca's head coach, Hollands led her teams to an 85-59 record. The Bombers won three Empire 8 titles and qualified for the conference playoffs seven times. Hollands, who was named Empire 8 Coach of the Year twice (2003 and 2004), guided Ithaca to more NCAA tournament appearances than any other coach; the Bombers won automatic bids in 2003, 2004 and 2008 and earned the program's first at-large selection this spring.

"Karen has been a very effective and valued head coach for our women's lacrosse team", said Ken Kutler, Ithaca's director of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports. "The success of the program is closely linked to Karen's hard work in recruiting and her effective coaching techniques. Karen had the knack of getting our players to believe in themselves, which was crucial to the team's performance at the conference level and on the national stage as well. In addition to her overall coaching success, Karen will be missed for her outstanding contributions as a teacher in the school of Health Science and Human Performance, a member of our gender equity task force and coordinator of our department raffle fund raiser. I know I speak for all athletics and recreational sports staff in wishing Karen the best in her professional and personal future."

A 1994 Ithaca graduate, Hollands was named to the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000. As a goalie for the Bomber field hockey and women's lacrosse teams, she helped both teams to NCAA playoff berths (including quarterfinal appearances in 1991 and 1992 for the field hockey team). She was a two-time first-team all-American in field hockey and set school records with 550 career saves and a career save percentage of .896. Hollands participated in the 1994 U.S. National Field Hockey Team tryouts.

Before returning to her alma mater, Hollands coached the field hockey and women's lacrosse coach at Hamilton College for four years, leading the Continental lacrosse team to a pair of NCAA playoff berths. She spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Hartwick College, helping the Hawks to the NCAA semifinals in both field hockey and women's lacrosse during her tenure.

The Bombers finished 11-7 this spring and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA playoffs.