Going into the season, the Lehigh women’s lacrosse team has set the bar high. Assistant coach Shannon McHugh and senior captains Kelly Scott and Lauren Wilcox all said they want to win the Patriot League Championship.
The championship is a long way off though, and for now the team has been focusing on the present. With all of the energy that the team is putting into preparation, they said they hope for a better outcome than the 7-9 overall record and 4-4 conference record of the 2014 season.
“Managing the weather conditions is always a challenge in January and February, but our team is doing a great job with handling the conditions,” McHugh said.
Scott also mentioned the conditions, but said the team has persevered through them. They practice every day and will even go outside into the snow.
Weather aside, there is a lot of preparation involved for the first game of the season. The team has been working since the fall on a number of things, including its offense.
“With the addition of Coach Sammy Cermack to the team, we’ve really been trying to develop a more creative and balanced offense,” Wilcox said. “There has been great improvement in that regard throughout the fall and we are all really looking forward to putting what we’ve learned into motion this spring.”
On the flip side, there are a few things in which the team feels they already excel. Both Scott and Wilcox highlighted its team’s chemistry on and off the field.
“The team has experienced seniors and quality leadership,” McHugh said.
Wilcox said that the team has a veteran defense, which bodes well in any sport. The team has seven seniors in a variety of positions, which is a huge bonus for any team in terms of leadership. When comparing this team to last year’s team, maturity and age also seemed to be a key component.
“This year, our team has a completely different dynamic,” Wilcox said. “Our sophomore class has stepped up to play a much more integrated role on both ends of the field. Overall, our team has more experience, which is going to lead to more wins.”
In addition to the senior leadership, the team will welcome back the leadership of coach Jill Redfern, who returns for her seventh season.
Wilcox and Scott both talked about how things have changed being a senior on the team as well. They both emphasized that they wanted to win and reach their ultimate goal at the end of the season. Being a senior also adds to that already strong drive to win since it will be their last shot to win the Patriot League Championship.
There is no easing into this season though as things get tough right away. Its first opponent, Penn State University, is ranked No. 11 in the country and the game will be played at State College. Going into the first game there are always a lot of tough factors surrounding the game, both physically and psychologically.
“I think one of the biggest challenges going into the first game is controlling nerves,” Wilcox said. “There is always a really exciting energy going into the start of the season, and I think channeling it in a positive and effective way can sometimes be challenging.”
Scott also expressed the same feelings when talking about the toughest part of the first game.
“It is a scary and exciting thing to go into the first game of the season, especially after many weeks of preseason and fall preparations,” she said. “We have to be confident that we are ready and not hold anything back.”
Both captains said they hope to wrangle those nerves as they lead the team next Saturday. Through snow, rain or sun this veteran team has been preparing a long time for this game.
The team will open its season against Penn State on Feb. 14.