Sun. Jan 16th, 2022

 

Coming off a trip to the semifinals last season, the women’s lacrosse team is preparing for their upcoming season, which will begin March 6 against Holy Family University at Tiger Field.

“We are excited for the games to begin,” head coach Ginny Martino said. “We have a great group of upperclassmen who are doing a fantastic job of leading the team this season. We are anxious to get going.”

The WCU lacrosse team was voted seventh in an Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’  Association (IWLCA) preseason poll. The IWLCA weighed in on 17 programs, ranking Le Moyne and Adelphi even for first, followed by Limestone at third and WCU rival Lock Haven at fourth.

“We have far more talent than they realize,” Martino said. “We have a lot of players who have been waiting their turn to get an opportunity and now they have the chance to step up and impress a league who does not know too much about them. I think we will surprise a lot of people.”

 Martino predicted Lock Haven to challenge West Chester, as they have historically locked-horns with the Golden Rams in the past.

“Within our conference, Lock Haven has always been a tough game and we seem to either win or lose by one goal, which means we are pretty evenly matched,” Martino said. “We hope to change that this year and make a statement within our conference.”

The Rams will face Lock Haven in a conference match in April. They will also face LeMoyne in April, who was voted the No. 1 seed in the preseason poll.

Martino noted West Chester’s advantage this season over previous seasons with the mild weather allowing an early start on the field to run plays.

“We have been very fortunate to have had such great weather this early in the spring,” Martino said. “We have been able to scrimmage and play full field a lot more than usual. We normally need to wait until spring break to travel south to get outside, but this year we have been able to do that at home.”

Senior goalkeeper MacKenzie O’Keefe noted the preseason work the team has put in to equip them to handle their competitors throughout the season.

“We have been doing a lot of work both on and off the field including early morning workouts,” O’Keefe said. “[We’ve been] putting in extra time before and after practice hours so that by our first game we are ready to dominate and prove we have the talent and potential to take home a championship.”

If the Rams are able to prove themselves this season again, they will head to the PSAC Championships again in May. This season West Chester will seek to advance to the national championship for the eighth time, and ninth time to the NCAAs in the past 11 years. O’Keefe said she is ready for the season to start so they can do just that.

“Saying we are excited for this season is an understatement,” O’Keefe said. “We are all here for one sole purpose and that is to be No. 1 in the Division II program and prove that we have the talent and potential to be the best. We are ready to work hard and earn our spot as a finalist team this upcoming May.”

Martino discussed the team’s depth in this year’s team, with well-balanced athletes who she expects will each contribute to their number one goal—to win the PSAC Championships and qualify for the NCAA tournament.

“We have not won our conference title in a few years now, even though we have advanced to the NCAAs,” Martino said. “It is important to us to win that Championship trophy back.”

“In order to be successful we need to continue our hard work and practice every day to keep our mental and physical game ahead of our opponents,” O’Keefe said. “Because we are such a close group of friends, the chemistry of play our team exhibits on the field is so cool to watch.”

The Golden Rams will play their first contest of the season on March 6. Their potential journey to the National Championships will start with a non-conference away game versus Holy Family.

Brynn Dougherty is a fourth-year student majoring in economics and finance with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at BD670913@wcupa.edu.

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