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Women’s Club Lacrosse will try to bounce back strong from last year’s Championship defeat

Women’s Club Lacrosse will try to bounce back strong from last year’s Championship defeat

Loyola Women’s Club Lacrosse is eager to see how their young team compares to last year’s championship contenders. Last season, the team placed second behind Denver and is looking to start this semester strong in their first tournament at Clemson University in two weeks.

There is a reason the team consistently competes at a high level and made it to finals two years in a row leading up to this season. “Tryouts are really competitive. Our freshman year, 40 girls tried out and only five made the team,” said Diandra Burton ‘19, starting defender on the team.

When Joanna Messina ‘19, one of three team captains, and Burton first joined the team, they were nervous about competing at such a high level. “Most people on the team have been playing since around junior high. I know everyone on the team could be at least Division Three athletes,” Messina said.

Messina and the other two captains on the Women’s Club Lacrosse team play a key role in the club’s overall success. The team does not have an assigned coach, which leaves many of these duties to the captains. Although the team has applied for a coach in the past, they have decided recently to keep their players at the helm. “It really makes it feel like this is our team. Having a coach has its benefits, but we feel like we wouldn’t have as much control over the team,” Messina explained.

Captains are traditionally divided up by position, so there would normally be a separate captain for defense, midfield, and attack. “Right now it’s two attackmen and me on defense as captains. So during games I choose who subs for defense and they decide who subs for midfield and attack,” said Messina.

Captains also plan out who starts each game, what drills to do during practice, and who gets the most playing time. “Depending on how you play, you’re in or you’re out so it can be stressful,” said Burton.

The team captains have a whole new set of challenges to face this season, including adapting to a new and relatively inexperienced set of players. “We lost nine seniors and gained nine freshman this year, so we honestly don’t know coming into this what it’s going to be like,” said Messina.

Burton is still confident that her team can be strong again this season. “When the seniors from last year left we lost a lot of starters and good leaders, but people always come in and out and the team is still solid at its core,” said Burton.

At its core, the Women’s Club Lacrosse team is centered around strong relationships.

“We don’t really have any outliers. Everyone is very different but you can go up to anyone on the team and still have a genuine good conversation with her and not have it feel weird at all,: Messina said. “We’re all very close.”

The women are already hard at work building those strong relationships. They practice three times a week for two hours, and once tournaments begin at the end of February, they will be on the road playing games every other weekend.

Burton and Messina both described some of their previous tournaments as bonding experiences for the team. For long distance trips to places such as Colorado or Michigan, the team flies to get there and stays in a hotel over the weekend. “Tournaments are really where we get super close and learn a lot about each other,” said Messina.

Spectators from Loyola like Kayla Joyce confirmed the team’s close-knit relationships. “You can tell while watching a game that they all know each other really well. They communicate so much on the field and really work as one unit,” said Joyce.

When the team is not on the road playing, they do plenty to stay active around campus with fundraisers and community service events. “Off the field we see each other all the time. We have a formal every year too which is a lot of fun,” said Messina.

Other than fundraising around campus, most of the team’s funding comes from the Club Sports Council at Loyola. “They decide how much money each team gets depending on how active the team is. A captain from the team has to meet with the council once a month to update them on club activities,” said Messina.

A trip to the championship last year set the bar high for this year’s team. The team captains are not letting the pressure get to them and are determined to focus on the small steps. “We want to take it one game at a time and really reflect off of how we do in tournaments on the weekends and build from that,” said Messina. “Right now we’re focusing on playing as well as we can against Clemson. We’ll learn a lot in that weekend because it will be our first real game with the new team,” added Burton.

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Women’s Club Lacrosse will try to bounce back strong from last year’s Championship defeat