While other teams are busy figuring out their starting lineups, the Emerson women’s lacrosse players are still becoming familiar with one another.
With few upperclassmen and nearly half of the players from last year no longer on the roster, the Emerson women’s lacrosse team will enter the 2012 season facing an uphill battle.
“Our numbers are going to be the issue,” said Megan Moore, who was named the program’s head coach at the beginning of the academic year. “We’re going to learn a lot quicker because we have to learn a lot quicker.”
The Lions currently have 16 players on their roster, 13 of which are freshmen and sophomores. To recruit new players, the team held tryouts on March 12 and 13. The tryouts were advertised by a sign posted in the girls locker room in the Fitness Center, which encouraged both newcomers and players with prior experience to try out. Among the new additions are freshmen Macy Day and Marissa Nobile. Both players just finished their seasons as members of the Emerson women’s basketball team. The Lions are also adding sophomore Casey Jablonski, a player on the women’s soccer team.
According to junior goalie Emily Saeger, though some of her newer teammates may not have a lot of experience, each person makes her own contribution.
“We’re definitely a young team, and we only have four upperclassmen,” Saeger said. “I think it’s good because we’re all pretty close as a team. A lot of the girls are athletic and bring skills from other sports to the field.”
Saeger played every minute of every game last season and will likely do so again. She is the only goalie on the roster, and in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women’s Lacrosse preseason poll, was noted as an important player this season.
In their preseason, the Lions had scrimmages against Fitchburg State, Keane State, Elms College, and Castleton State College. Kayla Dowd, the team’s lone senior, said the games were a chance for Emerson to improve team chemistry.
“Everyone is completely new playing with everybody else,” Dowd said. “No one has really played with each other. A handful of people have played. We’re still getting used to it.”
The players said that the team’s size also makes it difficult to practice certain drills.
“We lost a lot of people last year,” said sophomore midfielder Chelsea Phillips. “There’s not as much we can do with the people we have.”
Phillips led the Lions with 58 goals and 10 assists last season, earning her a spot on the GNAC All-Conference Second Team.
Moore noted that the players will have to make some adjustments to be successful.
“Having a small team forces our younger players, especially sophomores, to step up and take on roles that in other team dynamics, they wouldn’t have to take,” she said. “We’re definitely going to need them, with the freshmen. From a practice standpoint, people get a lot more reps.”
One matchup in particular that the Lions said they are excited for is against Norwich University, who beat the Lions twice last year. The teams will play again in a home game at Rotch Field March 31.
Emerson finished last season with a 6-3 conference record and a 7-9 record overall. Dowd said that the team wants to make up for the disappointing 2011 campaign.
“Last year we were expected to win the GNAC,” Dowd said. “But we didn’t have the season we expected to.”
Dowd also said that one of the keys to this season is going to be keeping a positive attitude and creating a healthy atmosphere to play in.
The Lions will take to the field for their first match of the season on Saturday at home against Mount Ida College.