With a new coach at the helm, the SUNY New Paltz Lacrosse team has begun their spring 2012 campaign with a current 2-1 record.
Head Coach Liz Student was hired December of 2011 after previous Head Coach Heather Semelmacher took up the coaching job at the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges. Student inherited a team that went 7-10 overall and 0-8 in conference play in 2011.
Student said the team’s biggest disadvantage is their lack of “fall ball.” According to Student, this was especially hard for the players to fix, who went into the season missing out on five weeks of practice time and without knowing her or her coaching style.
The team has been forced to adapt to different techniques, such as the grip on their lacrosse sticks, Student said.
“It’s very important that the team gets to know each other as well as me,” Student said. “I focus on team chemistry so that the players can get to know each other on another level, as well as have a support system for the field.”
Student said preparation in the off-season is just as important as during the traditional season. She said it is a requirement for the Lady Hawks to be the “best-conditioned team on the field” during her watch.
“I have been playing for years, and I have never had a coach so willing to think outside of the box,” fourth-year Co-Captain Juli Rehain said. “[Coach Student] sees obstacles as speed bumps, and doesn’t let us focus on them, but just knows how to get past them. I honestly think that with Coach Student’s leadership, New Paltz Lacrosse can really take charge of the
Having not won a conference game for three consecutive years, Student said “getting over the hump” would be the New Paltz Women’s Lacrosse team’s biggest
“I’ve been getting the team to focus on team defense,” Student said. “We are going back to the fundamentals for a powerful come-back.”
Student said the other teams underestimate the
lacrosse team’s ability, which will be the Hawks’ greatest advantage.
Players said they are confident in Student’s coaching abilities, and believe she will be able to bring the program to a new level of competitiveness.
“I have always felt that it is the girls I am surrounded by that make this team what it is, and Coach Student completely compliments that quality,” fourth-year Co-Captain Krista Hannaford said.
Having gone through some tough times during her years on the team, Hannaford said she didn’t know what to hope for, but Student has exceeded any expectations she could have had.
This season the team is all on the same page, striving for the coveted SUNYAC championship, Hannaford said.
“We want it, and we want it bad,” Hannaford said.
With practice six days a week for two hours at a time, the New Paltz Women’s Lacrosse team has been working tirelessly to ensure a victory, Student said.
Student has implemented a new motto for the team; this season “espirit de corpe,” meaning “the spirit of the team.”
“I expect my girls to continue to grow as players as well as students,” Student said. “They should work hard on the field, and harder in class.”
And Student, it seems, will not be disappointed. With wins over both Mount Saint Mary College and Smith
College, Student expects to see more victories throughout the season.
“It’s the team’s enthusiasm that makes it worthwhile,” Student said. “Everyone wants to be there and to be a part of this journey.”