Marist women’s lacrosse team kicks off their season tomorrow with a game against Colgate University. The Red Foxes are eagerly counting down the seconds until game day, as they look to start their 2020 season clear-minded, concentrating only on the present.
Last season, the Red Foxes finished with an 8-10 record, and 4-4 record in the MAAC Conference, falling in the semi-finals to Fairfield University. This year, they’re switching things up.
“We lost a good amount of talent last year,” head coach Jessica Wilkinson mentions. “From our defensive end we lost three starters out of four. It’s been a very big revamping year and we kind of just started from scratch. It was the best way to go about it.” Wilkinson continues, “everyone’s on board and moving together, as opposed to people having to catch up if they weren’t here last year.”
Having the team on board gives them an edge and speaks to the depth that the Red Foxes have in all positions. Senior captain Samantha Mehalick agrees, saying that, “I think that some of our freshmen have really stepped up, as well as our underclassmen. We are very well rounded this year. I think we’ve been doing a really good job at filling those gaps and I’m really excited to see what we do tomorrow.”
After finishing fourth in the MAAC preseason poll, Mehalick notes that the rating brings the team motivation and a drive to compete harder. “I think it’s always better to be the underdog,” she starts. “If people are looking at us as number four, then they’re just underestimating what we can do. It can be used as our motivation to go out there and prove them wrong.”
Breaking things down position-wise, the Red Foxes are bringing back junior goalkeeper Delaney Galvin, who Coach Wilkinson notes will probably get the nod to start in the crease tomorrow. Additionally, sophomores Chloe Monroe and Gabrielle Orlando will serve as second string. Both Monroe and Orlando are able to step up when necessary. Wilkinson says that “our whole goalie team has been such a huge force of pushing our defense to take chances.”
Defensively, after losing more than half of their starting line, the team is confident in their abilities to shut down players and keep them out of the 8-meter. They will be led by senior captain Annie Sheehy. Sheehy, who was a selection for the all-MAAC preseason team, is joined by seniors Emma Lemay and Jullia Luff, as well as junior Allison Mahoney.
On the circle, the Red Foxes lost their go-to draw specialist last season, Hailey Wagner, as she graduated. Wilkinson assures that Wagner’s departure has not left a massive gaping hole in the midfield as some might have expected. Senior captain Jana Rothman, Luff, junior transfer Alexandria Di Chiara, and junior Isabelle Stockman can evoke positive results when they line up for the draw.
“We have a lot of girls that can interchange on the circle, and that’s just about getting the ball when it’s the ground. We’re using anyone who can beat each other to the ball.” Wilkinson reference Romy Villemure as a key player there.
On offense, the attack is being led by assistant coach and alum Tierney Larson. This season, the big name on attack is Mehalick. When she steps up for a free position shot, it’s off her stick and in the back of the net in a matter of seconds.
When opposing teams are busy covering Mehalick, the Red Foxes have multiple assets on the attacking end who can step up and score goals. Juniors Kelly George and Devon Connolly are coming off spectacular seasons. George led the team in assists last season while Connolly scored 26 goals for the Red Foxes last spring.
“I think we look really good, and we’re strong on every end of the field,” Mehalick says.
As for the game tomorrow against Colgate, Marist is more than excited.
“We’re pumped. We haven’t played against someone in so long,” says Mehalick, with the excitement in her tone fully evident.
“We’ve been practicing really hard,” coach Wilkinson says. “What I think is really special about the first game of a season is that we typically use film from previous games to watch these teams before we play them. This is both team’s first game, so we are truly relying on our own team, and our own knowledge of what we can do. We can only play our game.”
As the 2020 Spring season starts, the Marist women’s lacrosse team is ready to write their own chapter. A chapter that is full of new faces, new techniques, and hard work. The ultimate goal for this Red Fox team is win the coveted MAAC Championship, a feat that, according to Mehalick, is “100% attainable, and tomorrow starts that journey.”
Edited by Amelia Nick
Photo by Steve Speedling & Anthony Purge