The beginning years after any program’s inauguration is a time filled with records set across the board. For the women’s lacrosse team, currently in their second year as a program, a new milestone was achieved in a match against Shorter University on March 21.
The team clinched a record high goal performance with a 21 point victory over the Shorter Hawks. This may be a landmark for the Spartans, but players ensure that it is just the tip of the iceberg.
“I think it just shows what we as a group and a program are capable of,” said senior midfielder Kirsten Brierley. “There is so much more to come for people to see.”
Following their breakthrough victory, the team set out to compete against first Pfeiffer and then Lenoir-Rhyne on March 26 and March 27, respectively. Despite the excitement following their win against Shorter, the team failed to come away with additional victories. They fell to a score of 16-6 against Pfeiffer and similarly to a score of 15-6 against Lenoir-Rhyne.
However, the team notes that the final scores were mostly representations of only the last 40 minutes of each of these matches. While the players started off strong, their most consequential issue was maintaining focus to the finish.
“Our biggest accomplishment was the first 20 minutes of the Pfeiffer game,” Brierley said. “We put everything together and played as a unit. Our defense was solid, and we made Pfeiffer a little nervous. Our biggest struggle was playing consistent the whole weekend. We just couldn’t put a complete game together.”
However, the team continues to keep their heads high as they work their way toward the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) tournament, which is scheduled to begin on April 24. The two losses put the team at a record of 5-8. At this point, it is important for them to clinch their last remaining victories of regular-season play in order to secure a spot in the tournament.
In the next few weeks, the teams will be competing against three conference teams: Saint Leo University, Florida Institute of Technology and Florida Southern College. Winning at least two of these three remaining matches will allow them to achieve their goal.
“Our last three games of the regular season are all conference games. They will be tough competitions but there is some animosity that will fire us up and we’re ready to go,” Brierley said. “We need to play consistent Tampa lacrosse as a team. We need to focus on all the little things we go over everyday in practice.”
Instead of dwelling on their losses from the past weekend, the team sees it more as a way to illuminate the areas of their game that need more focus. They have been taking note on both their own and their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, as it will give them more insight into how they will need to compete in the conference tournament, should they qualify.
“The teams we play this week and next week are similar to the teams we previously just played,” said sophomore attack Amanda Voges. “If we come out strong and focused we will come out with the outcomes that we’ve been working for all season.”
All in all, the team’s loss to Pfeiffer and Lenior-Rhyne have only made them hungrier for a spot in the tournament as well as more intuitive in terms of what to expect and how to perform. No match is wasted; each victory and each loss is part of a larger picture of growing the program and learning how to be successful.
“As a whole our trip to North Carolina really benefited us by showing if we do come out strong and play for a full 60 minutes instead of just for a portion of the game no one will be able to stop us,” Voges said. “We’re a young team still we just got to keep moving forward and progress and time will tell.”
Tess Sheets can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org