The Emerson College women's lacrosse team is striving to finish off what they started last year.
"We are looking forward to the GNAC championship," said Co-Head Coach Gail Decker-Wittman. "We are going to win it. We have to win it, no question."
If the Lions' game on March 21 against Anna Maria College was any indication of the team's championship aspirations, the rest of the conference needs to watch out. Emerson beat the first-year Amcats program 16-2, improving their record to 3-2. It was the second match in a row in which the Lions outscored their opponent by more than 10 goals.
"The returning players led strong and the new players really stepped up," said Decker-Wittman. "We are getting better each game so we can be prepared for the championship."
Co-captain Meghan Robinson is one of the veterans from last year's squad who remembers how disappointing losing in the GNAC finals was.
"Last year was tough. I think we can definitely win the GNAC, but we have no room for error," the junior broadcast journalism major said. "I think we are all out to win this year and we realize we have the potential to win the conference, we just need to work on playing a higher level of lacrosse all the time."
Playing at a higher level means that the Lions must always focus on playing to their potential in all phases of the game, no matter how lopsided the score gets, like the match against Anna Maria College.
"We focus on being smart with the ball, having smooth transitions, and winning ground balls and draw control," said freshman Amy Gervis, who led the team with four goals. "Against a team that we are expected to beat, we can't let ourselves play down to their level. I'm not proud of the win unless we truly played a good game."
Emerson's top competition in the conference will come from the team that defeated them in the championship game last year 10-8- Norwich University, whom they play on April 18, the last game of the regular season. Robinson said that everything the team does, they do with the notion that it will help them avenge last year's loss.
"We need to work on playing a clean game. We can't drop the ball and go half-speed after it," Robinson said. "If we go up against Norwich, they're going to hustle. We need to make sure there are no 50-50 balls because we have them in our sticks."
Co-captain and sophomore Maeghan Ross leads the team with 22 goals and 29 points. She said not playing Norwich until the end of the season is an advantage for the Lions.
"They are our last game this season and that is awesome," the journalism major said. "Every game until then we will be working on getting better."
Emerson has a wealth of talent working in their favor, which they showcased in the game against Anna Maria. The 16 goals were scored by 10 different players and six players registered assists. The defense also allowed only two goals for the second straight game.
"We played really well across the board, veterans and newcomers," said Decker-Wittman. "We do not have any selfish players. Everyone was looking for someone new to score."
Although the team is full of young and inexperienced players-Robinson is the only upperclassman on the team- dominating games in the same fashion as they did against the Amcats provides the Lions with high expectations.
"It is very encouraging," said Gervis, a communication disorders major. "It shows that we have a lot of potential for a great season this year as well as seasons to come."