The lacrosse team is looking to improve upon their 7-10 record from last season and have scooped up their first win to start their second season with Head Coach Liz Student.
The Lady Hawks beat Hartwick College on Saturday, March 9 after rallying to come back from a two goal deficit in the second half by making an 8-0 run to secure the 16-10 win.
Head Coach Liz Student expects consistency from her team this season. The squad is smaller than last season, with 13 of the 16 players returning from last year. Student said the difference in size changes the dynamics in practice and also requires every player to fulfill her role.
“We made it a little bit of a smaller squad to kind of push this program in the right direction,” Student said. “Everybody has an impact, which kind of empowers everybody to work that much harder and come in before practice and to work hard after practice,” Student said.
Players are able to get in more reps during practice and Student said the team has been working on playing through an entire game in order to reverse a problem they have had throughout last season.
“A lot of games we played well for 75 percent of it but it was the last 25 percent that did us in,” Student said. “We’ve been working a lot on working the whole way through practice to prepare us to play a full game.”
Last season, the Lady Hawks won their first conference games since 2002 and Student said they will try to improve their 7-10 record by honing in on their consistency and maturity to win the games they lost by one or two goals last season. The team has grown used to Student’s coaching style, which is also an advantage, she said.
“The team’s used to my philosophy and how my practice is run and they know my expectations now,” Student said. “They understand the type of plays that we’re playing and they’re excited to kind of have this be the breakout year for this group.”
Fourth-year Co-captain Erin Tornatore was ranked nationally for draw controls last year and is a player Student will rely on to take care of the ball, Student said.
Tornatore said the advantages of a small team include learning players’ strengths, weaknesses and roles. These advantages can be helpful to “quickly identify an issue and bounce back” when they are experiencing a deficit, she said.
Tornatore also said her role as a co-captain is not unique, with every player having similar duties.
“As a captain, my role is no different than anyone else on the team,” Tornatore said. “I support my teammates in listening, communicating and putting 110 percent on the field.”
Third-year attacker Talia Tesler has taken on a leadership role as well and has been working on being able to feed the ball from both the right and left. Tesler and second-year attacker Kelsey Healy will work together to help facilitate the offense, Student said.
Student said goalie Jackie Ulanoff is the best goalie the program has had. Her commitment to improving and “animated” personality make her a fun player to watch, she said.
Second-year midfielder Julia Johnson feels more comfortable on the field as a returning player and the bond between the team on and off the field allows for better understanding during games. Johnson said the team’s goal is to make history.
“As a team our goal is to make it to SUNYACs for the first time in program history,” Johnson said. “However, to do so we must play consistent and leave everything on the field every practice and game.”
Student cites stick skills and mental toughness as some of the improvements made by her squad, but a more significant change is the expectations players have for the team, she said.
“We’re going in with the expectation of winning, whereas last year it was kind of the expectation of trying not to lose,” Student said.
The Lady Hawks will continue to work on their consistency when they play Smith College on Thursday, March 14 in Northampton, Mass.