A match against No. 5 ranked Florida Southern College on April 15 marked the end of women’s lacrosse’s 2015 season. The Spartans fell in their final match to a score of 22-7, putting them at an overall season record of 5-11.
While this upset put a hamper on the team’s ability to compete in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) tournament, they were not disappointed with how they chose to close the season.
“We wanted to have fun since it was the last game with our seniors and as a 2015 team but we also needed to play hard and fight. So while the fun was there, we didn’t come out as strong as we have in the past,” sophomore defender Sara Barrett said. “Our greatest accomplishment was our transitioning down the field. In past games throughout the season we turned the ball over a lot in transition but against FSC they were really good and led us to score.”
This being only their second year as a program at UT, the team is constantly improving with every practice, scrimmage and game. Every new exposure to the world of collegiate lacrosse gets the Spartans a step closer to the powerhouse team they aspire to be. Already, they have improved in motivation, experience and willingness to learn.
Now that they have a solid foundation of the fundamentals of the game and a better idea of the competitiveness that comes with this level of play, it’s all up-hill from here.
“We have a full team of committed motivated competitive student athletes,” head coach Kelly Gallagher said. “They know what it takes to compete and they have a ton of experience to grow and learn from. More than anything, we have the will and motivation to prepare for what the next season will bring us and a great group of incoming freshmen to join our family. Foundations are everything and a strong foundation wasn’t going to be built in one year.”
Looking back on the season, the team approached 2015 with high expectations. They embraced the year with confidence, hoping to secure a spot in the conference tournament by the season’s end.
Although they did not manage to consummate the year in this way, they have not overlooked the progress that they have made in just this season alone.
“In general, I have very high expectations of our team, they have high expectations of themselves,” Gallagher said. “From that sense, I think we put a lot more pressure on ourselves than anyone else does and we probably didn’t meet our expectations. However, when you take a step back and look at some of the amazing moments and things we accomplished this season, we absolutely met and exceeded our own expectations, they were just different goals/experiences than we had planned for.”
Glancing into the future, the Spartans believe they are headed in the right direction.. Success is not determined by one single season, but by the progress a team makes over time, and that is what moves the women’s team into their third season.
Despite the loss of two seniors going into next year, a new set of promising recruits assures a fruitful 2016 season.
“I think we are right on track. While we will lose some great seniors this year in Kirsten Brierley and Katie Delaney, we have a great class of girls coming in next fall and the classes behind them are lining up quite nicely,” Gallagher said. “At the end of the day, building is a process. I’m much more interested in building a solid foundation for this program to have year after year of success than just one year of success. Our time is coming.”
Tess Sheets can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org