The Lehigh women’s lacrosse team is taking a different approach entering this season compared to years past.
Every competitive team has the goal of winning the conference championship and hoisting up the trophy at the end of the year, but Lehigh’s goal for 2016 is different.
This offseason, the Mountain Hawks embraced the phrase “win the moment” with the goal of becoming more present on a daily basis. Their mindset entering the year is to take the season one game and one step at a time.
The motto is a daily reminder to each member of the team to be her very best right now and not worry about what happened in the past or what could happen in the future.
The Mountain Hawks have made it to the Patriot League Quarterfinals the past two years but suffered season-ending losses to Boston University each time.
“Our goal this year is to definitely get past that point and give ourselves a chance to win the Patriot League Championship,” junior attacker Allison LaBeau said.
Kendall Garden, one of four seniors on the roster, said she has tremendous confidence in her team.
“I believe this will be the most successful, talented and determined team I have ever been a part of throughout my collegiate career,” Garden said.
Lehigh is young, acquiring eight freshmen on the roster, a
nd all three starting low defenders graduated from last year’s team. Junior defender Julianne D’Orazio is expected to be the leader of the defense even though she missed the 2015 season due to concussion symptoms.
D’Orazio finished second on the team her freshman year with 22 caused turnovers and 23 draw controls, and says she is excited to get back on the field with the team.
“Being out last season made me realize how much I appreciate playing with my teammates,” D’Orazio said.
Junior Taylor Tvedt will hold down the goalie position for the Mountain Hawks. The junior has a .420 save percentage and as a starter, has a chance to be a key component to Lehigh’s success this season.
Lehigh returns seven of its top eight scorers from last season and will rely heavily on its two preseason All-Patriot League members, Garden and LaBeau to lead its offensive attack.
LaBeau finished first on the team last season with 34 goals and 14 assists while Garden finished third with 24 goals and 10 assists. The team also retained junior midfielder Lauren Beausoleil who finished 2015 with 18 goals and 10 assists.
The Mountain Hawks had a strong fall season playing in four tournaments against top competition. The fall was vital for the nine upperclassmen and 17 underclassmen to gain experience and learn how to play together on the field.
“One of the most recognizable differences has bee
n our freshmen this year,” LaBeau said. “They came in so prepared and excited to play this fall that they pushed the upperclassmen to do more. They helped us become a more competitive group and I think that has really started to change our team culture in a positive way.”
The Mountain Hawks are projected to finish fif
th in the league behind Colgate University, Boston University, Navy and Loyola University (Maryland). Loyola is projected to win its third straight Patriot League Championship.
The team’s first test this spring was a scrimmage against Cornell University on Feb. 6. Lehigh’s first regular season game is Saturday, Feb. 13, at 3 p.m. against No. 7 Penn State University at Banko Field.