Tigers Open Season With Dominating Wins

The opposition that the state of Minnesota had to offer proved to be no match for the Colorado College women’s lacrosse team. During their season opener, the Tigers easily dispatched both Hamline University and University of Northwestern (MN) by scores of 21-4 and 22-3, respectively, at the Concordia Dome at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn.

Junior Steph Kelly recorded a four-goal weekend against Hamline University and University of Northwestern (MN). Photo Courtesy of Charlie Lengal

In the first game of the weekend the Tigers played the Hamline University Pipers, a team who finished with a very respectable record of 10-6 last year. Even though the Pipers came into the game on a five-game win streak that dated back to last season, the Tigers made short work of what should have been a closer game on paper. Less than 10 minutes into the game the Tigers had already taken a 7-0 lead. After Hamline sophomore midfielder Dana Almquist got free from the Tiger defense to score the Pipers’ first goal of the game, first-year midfielder Lauren Pejza answered with the first two goals of her Tiger career. Pejza’s goals were only 18 seconds apart and improved the Tiger lead to 9-1 with 17:03 left in the first.

“I think our team chemistry is definitely a reason why we were so successful last weekend in our games,” Pejza said. “Everyone on the team clicks really well and gets along on and off the field.”

Pejza went on to talk about what it’s like to be one of 12 first-years on this Tiger team. “Being a freshman on this team is so different from being a freshman on a high school sports team because on this team the older players don’t treat us as inferior in any way,” she said. “From the very beginning, everyone was extremely welcoming which definitely contributes to our team chemistry. I think the freshman class is really strong this year.”

The Tigers ended the half with a 15-3 lead to put the game beyond any doubt. The final score was 21-4 and the Tigers got their first win of the season. Pejza finished the game with three goals to lead the Tigers, while junior attacker Steph Kelly recorded a game-high six points with two goals and four assists. Sophomore attacker Emily Carlson, junior attacker Annie Defrino, first-year midfielder Robin Hilderman, first-year attacker Eva King, and sophomore midfielder Ellie Meyer all scored two goals, proving the Tigers once again have a very balanced offense.

In the second game of the weekend, the Tigers faced University of Northwestern, another Minnesota foe. The Tigers were able to use the momentum they built in the first game against Hamline and beat Northwestern by a final score of 22-3. Senior attacker Hannah Lyons had a standout game for the Tigers, finishing with two goals. The veteran is already on track to surpass her seven-goal total from last season.

“It was without a doubt so exciting to start our season with two wins,” Lyons said following the weekend. “After a few weeks of preseason, it was fun to be challenged and to feel the adrenaline and excitement of competition. We worked hard to prepare for those games and it was rewarding see that it paid off.”

Lyons also highlighted the fact that, though both wins were by large margins of victory, her team still can learn from the weekend’s games. “Each game had its ups and downs serving as important learning moments for the team,” Lyons said. “We were reminded that we play our best game when we play as a unit: when we have effective communication and when we make sure the mechanics and little things get done well.”

One thing that this past weekend proved was that the incoming class of 12 first-years will certainly bring a lot to the table offensively for the Tigers.

“It has been an exciting transition welcoming 13 new players on to our team,” Lyons said of this year’s rookie class. “As freshmen, playing at the collegiate level is an adjustment, as is learning the dynamics of a new team. There is a big learning curve, but all of our freshmen have done well. They all saw playing time over the weekend, and I hope that shook out any last newbie nerves. All the freshmen are talented players and will add to the depth of talent on our team.”

Look out for your women’s lacrosse team Monday, March 6 against Ursinus College and Tuesday, March 7 against Emerson College.

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