The lacrosse team began their season with a win against Mount Saint Mary College on March 11.
The team’s first goal of their first non-conference match-up found the back of the Lady Knights’ net 18 seconds into the contest, foreshadowing a 16-9 victory for the Lady Hawks.
Fourth-year Captain Talia Tesler and third-year midfielder Lianne Valdivia each tallied a career-high six goals during the game and led the offensive to string of consecutive points, securing a 1-0 start to the season.
Head Coach Liz Student said the team was excited to play on a field for the first time after being constricted to gym play due to the low temperatures, and didn’t let the lack of outdoor playing experience come into play.
Student acknowledges the Lady Hawks’ ability to win draws, obtain ground balls and the team’s overall pre-season preparations as a key factor to Tuesday’s victory.
“They worked a lot on strength and conditioning, they played with their sticks more, they were just in much better shape,” Student said.
Student said being able to work on “bigger picture stuff,” rather than the technicalities and conditioning, let the Lady Hawks focus on improving offensive motions and stick skills. Though the winter has been brutal, Student said the team did the best with what they had, and their dedication is already showing.
“I think our dedication is one of our biggest strengths,” Valdivia said. “We’re not only dedicated in season, but out of season as well. Everyone is excited for our program to grow.”
Telser said as a whole, they have worked a lot harder and have gotten in much better shape than they have been in the past.
Tesler said along with traditional practices, preseason included conditioning sessions around three times a week, which encompassed lifting weights and conditioning with sprinting drills. She said this, along with the experience from many returning players, will aid the Lady Hawks greatly this season.
“This is helpful because we get to basically start back off where we left it, there is not too much to learn and we are very cohesive,” Tesler said.
In addition to Valdivia and Tesler on offense, Student cites third-year Captain Carissa Citro and third-year attack and midfielder Kelsey Healy as offensive forces able to move the ball down the field. On defense, fourth-year defender Maggie Rose Melito and third-year midfielder and defender Julia Johnson anchor the defense. As a second year starter, third-year Captain Jackie Ulanoff will keep the net for the Lady Hawks.
“Our goals this season are to always be working together as one unit and never letting down,” Citro said. “Not only in games, but in practice as well. We are expected to always go full speed and push each other to our limits. No matter what the outcome of the game, we expect to walk off the field knowing that we outworked the other team. We are going to remain focused and motivated and take the season one game at a time.”
The Lady Hawks will continue non-conference play over spring break, as they take on Hartwick College, Kean University, Monclair State University and Wells University in preparation for the start of conference play on March 29 in a game against Buffalo State.
Johnson said non-conference games are the perfect way to “work out the kinks.”
“It gives us a chance to finally run our plays and work on our skills against someone other than our own team,” Johnson said. “This will allow us to see how other defenses will react when running offensive plays. It will also allow our defense to get back in the mindset of reading different players and offenses.”
Tesler said while the team is a fairly new program in one of the most competitive conferences in Div. III and it is easy to get discouraged, the team looks to remain confident.
“They want it this year,” Student said. “Last year we kind of wanted things handed to us a little bit, and this year they’re working for it. They will do anything that they can to get those wins.”