Women off to strong start

by Beacon Staff • March 26, 2008

Since starting the season with a 19-4 loss at Wheaton College, the girls have reeled off six wins in their seven games since, bringing their record to 6-2 (1-0 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference) on the season.,After a rocky start to the season, the Emerson women's lacrosse team has kicked it up a notch behind the play of some fierce new freshmen.

Since starting the season with a 19-4 loss at Wheaton College, the girls have reeled off six wins in their seven games since, bringing their record to 6-2 (1-0 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference) on the season. The team has also already matched its win total from last season with seven games remaining to play.

A major reason for the turnaround has been the contributions of six new freshmen-attackmen Katie Dodge and Monica Carroll; midfielders Katie Peters, Maeghan Ross and Laura Miley and defenseman Lauren Festa. The first-year players have accounted for 69 of the team's 105 goals in seven of their games games. Statistics were not kept for the team's away game at Methodist University in Richmond, Va.

Peters, who has netted 16 goals so far this season, said a lot of the team's early success has to do with the trip they took to Virginia and Delaware over spring break to practice and play two games and a number of scrimmages.

"We really came together as a team over spring break," the digital post-production major said. "Offensively, we really learned each others' games."

Head Coach Michael Blanchard said he is not surprised the team has started so well after the tough pre-season schedule.

"They had some tough scrimmages," Blanchard said. "They were tested and pushed, and it helped them. It helped elevate their game collectively."

Ross said that the transition to a new college team was easier because of the quality of programs each freshman participated in during their high school careers.

"We all came from very strong teams," the organizational and political communication major said. "I felt like it was very easy to fit in right away. There was never an awkward moment or a place where it felt uncomfortable."

Miley, a marketing communication major, said the team was very prepared for their schedule due to the amount of practice they put in during the preseason. She said the team trained daily, alternating each day between conditioning and turf drills, where they worked on their passing and stick handling.

With so many new faces on the team, the transition was not entirely seamless. Peters said that practicing with the Emerson team was an entirely different experience after her high school career.

"It was a little weird at first," Peters said. "I'd played with some of the same girls since the sixth grade, so it was strange to get to know some new people."

Sophomore Devon Turner, who played on the team last season, said the new freshmen have provided the team with a much-needed shake-up.

"I was excited because I played midfield last year, and I'm a defensive player," the film production major said. "It's nice to stay back and let them take control of the offense as I play defense. I feel a lot better about the team."

Turner said that she feels the team also stands a much better chance in the GNAC this year due to the experience they gained playing tough opponents over spring break. According to Turner, some of the newer teams are not as strong as the ones who left.

With each victory, Miley said, the team's confidence is growing.

"We're playing as a team," Miley said. "We have big expectations for the league. If we work hard, and work together as a team, we can do great things."