On Saturday, Oct. 28, the Sacred Heart University women’s lacrosse team received their Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship rings to celebrate their 2023 spring season.
Back in May, the women battled in their conference tournament and came out victorious in the final game against Wagner College to secure their title as NEC champions. Months later, the team is still celebrating their accomplishment, topping it off with their championship rings.
“It’s really special. It took everything for us to get to that point,” said graduate student and captain Emma Kittredge.
Head coach Laura Korutz said she was grateful for the ring, though it was not her first time as a member of an NEC champion team. In her 24 years as head coach at SHU, she has won this title three times before, in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
“With being older and more experienced there is more gratitude and an understanding of the work it takes to get to this spot,” said Korutz. The university aided in this celebration by setting up a tent and inviting the team’s friends and family to celebrate. “It felt so awesome to be around
all the people that pushed me to celebrate this accomplishment together,” said senior captain Kelly Nolan.
The ring ceremony was also held at the end of the lacrosse team’s fall season. They practiced five times a week for six weeks and played in three round-robin tournaments and one regular scrimmage. Since these games do not count towards their record for the spring season, Korutz used this time as a building period.
“It’s been a really challenging fall with who we played, but a great opportunity for us coaches to see who is going to step up and fill those roles from who left the team last year,” said Korutz.
Korutz said the spring season is all about the mentality that comes with winning a championship. She said the returning players understand the time and hard work required to accomplish such a prestigious title. Yet this is a new season, thus a new team.
“We talked long and hard with this team to stress that we are not last year’s team. We have to make our own identity and really put in the work,” said Korutz.
Nolan said she sees the target that may be on the team’s back as the reigning champions as motivation for her. It is a reminder that what they accomplish is obtainable if they dedicate the same amount of time and hard work.
“It doesn’t matter who puts the target on our back. We are pushing to be better than everyone around us,” said Nolan.
The women’s lacrosse team will look to collect another NEC championship ring in their upcoming spring season, starting in Jan. 2024.
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.