By: NoraNoel Nolan
The women’s lacrosse team is ramped up and ready for the upcoming season. The Pioneers began their season on Feb. 10 in New Hampshire. The North-East Conference (NEC) Pre-Season Coaches Poll was recently released, and the team was picked to finish the year fifth overall in the conference.
“It was a little disheartening to see our ranking,” said junior Hanna Wise. “We’ve been in the conference tournament the past two years. We work really hard, we want to win and we definitely want to show that we should be a higher ranking.”
The team has been training hard in the offseason. Their preparation for this spring began last summer. Given a summer packet, the athletes trained on their own and were expected to come back to school in the fall meeting certain marks.
The intensive training continued to progress when the team returned to school in the fall, preparing them for the spring. Over the winter break, the Pioneers were given another training packet to complete.
Almost a full year of preparation is how the team excels above and beyond the other teams in the conference. The team’s excitement and drive indisputably proves the saying that hard work and dedication do not take a holiday.
“We’ve worked a lot harder than we have in previous years, and I think that as a team we are being judged by previous years,” said junior Olivia Mittleman. “We are a completely different team, with a completely different outlook.”
The team plans to use this underdog status as motivation to fire them up and create an even more passionate desire to win and prove their place on top. Goals have been implemented for the team overall, as well as within each of the different positions (attack, midfield, defense, and goalie).
“Hopefully, by measuring more concrete goals, it will help us achieve the ultimate goal,” said Mittleman.
Their goals consist of making it to the NEC tournament as they have done in previous years, and to be a top contender in the conference.
“I think the dynamic of the team this year has changed completely,” said Wise. “We’re here to leave a legacy.”
Head coach Laura Cook’s motto that she continues to reiterate to her team is, “everyone on the offensive end has to be a threat.” She believes that it is essential that they play as a team, and not just rely on one or two girls to be the leading scorers.
“This year is a lot different than most years,” said Cook. “We are very team oriented, and I wouldn’t say that we have one or two players that stick out from the rest of the team. This is good because we have a lot of solid players who should make up a good team for us this year.”
In the reign of her 17th year, Cook is most excited about the conference games and what they entail for the postseason. She loves the idea of the non-conference portion of the schedule, as it improves the team in many different aspects and shows the overall strengths and weaknesses of the team.
The goal is to make all of the players on the team effective, and to have them use their strong sense of team mentality.
“I’m looking forward to the team working to make the playoffs again, as this would be our third year. Two years ago we took Bryant to double overtime, where we almost beat them,” said Cook. “Getting a chance to compete in the NEC Championship is a major goal we have.”