Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you win by a lot. The last of these outcomes was demonstrated over seventh block break when the girl’s lacrosse team traveled to California and Oregon to play their final three games of the season.
In their first game against University of Pacific the Tigers dominated their opponent 21-11. In their next game, against Southwestern University, the team ended up with a 21-8 victory, and in the final game of the season against Linfield University, the Tigers won was 20-3.
Head Coach Susan Stuart was very impressed with her team’s offense and attributes their offensive success to their focus on working as a complete team rather than setting up plays for individuals or isolating different players on the field. “We want to have multiple weapons every time because it’s harder to defend,” Stuart said.
Although their offense was stellar, the overall level of play wasn’t as intense as usual because their opponents weren’t as technically skilled. According to Stuart, in these situations the goal is to focus on themselves, rather than their opponents, and to maintain the standard of what they know they’re capable of. “We had tremendous contribution from everybody and that’s what the focus is on when we play games like that,” Stuart said.
First-year attacker Chelo Barton agreed that everyone contributed to the series. “We had a lot of different goal scorers this weekend, including some of our defenders,” she said. “That was really cool.” Barton also noted the difficulty in keeping up the intensity against less skilled teams. “We were able to still play our game, but playing teams that aren’t nearly as competitive makes it harder to do that,” Barton said.
She also said that during practices they had been working hard on playing their best by eliminating errors and being offensively aggressive. “We also have been doing conditioning before we [scrimmage] so that we can practice playing smart when we are tired,” she said.
Along with keeping up the level of play against less competitive teams, there was another goal present during these games. “We were sort of chasing a record for Steph Kelly in the draws,” Stuart said. Steph Kelly, a first-year attacker, wanted to beat the Division III of draw control. While there turned out to be no Division III record, the Division I record is 20 and Kelly got 18 against Pacific, which was pretty spectacular. Regardless of beating the record or not, Stuart was very happy with her team’s attitude. “The idea of helping each other out and backing each other up has been a constant theme the entire year,” Stuart said. “I was really proud of that.”
Though the Tigers might qualify for postseason play, it’s unlikely. “That’s the tough part about being an independent,” Stuart said. “Everyone’s finishing up their conference right now, so it’s tough for us to get games in April.” This means their season is most likely finished.
Stuart said she will miss the six seniors on the team tremendously. “We had a rough spot in the program a few years ago and I think [these seniors] helped get the program back where we wanted to in terms of team oriented focus, which is what I want as coach,” she said.
According to Stuart, the seniors left a legacy of team-first mentality and, as leaders, put the team in the right frame of mind.
Stuart says the goal for next season is to always be as competitive as possible: to step onto the field with the motivation, the hunger, and the desire to compete at the highest level. Both Stuart and her players are excited to see what the future has in store for them.