Wellesley College Lacrosse kicks off their 2017 season on March 1 with a non-conference matchup against nationally ranked Bates College. The Lacrosse team consists of 21 athletes with high goals and expectations for the season opener and the rest of the 2017 campaign. One of these goals is to build upon the progress the team made in their 2016 season, which began with a brand new head coach, Lauren Schoenberger, and the addition of seven first years. The Wellesley Blue responded well to the various new faces and systems of play and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NEWMAC (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference) Tournament. They hope to continue this success in the upcoming season.
Nikki Sharkin, one of the senior captains and 2016 NEWMAC Lacrosse All-Conference Second Team select, shared that the team has done much to prepare for the highly-anticipated season opener at Bates College. She commented, “We’ve had four weeks of preseason so far, and that’s given us a long time to work on our game. We’ve been doing a lot of conditioning and our transition game has been a big focus of preseason.”
Another primary focus of preseason has been to foster strong connections on and off the lacrosse field. The team makes an effort to spend quality time with each other outside of practice and lift. They accomplish this by devoting a few hours every Friday night to team bonding. Coach Schoenberger remarked, “The off field bonding, whether it’s at lunch or walking to practice, really complements the on field camaraderie we’ve worked so hard to develop. I think it’s really going to help us perform well this season.”
Team bonding is especially important this season because the lacrosse program picked up eight first years whom they need to incorporate into their game. Though young, this group is expected to contribute greatly to Wellesley’s success. Sharkin stated, “I think the new group is awesome. They bring so many different personalities to the table, and they are all really focused on lacrosse. They’re a good group skill wise, so I think they’re going to bring a lot on and off the field. I definitely expect them to contribute to our program.”
The majority of varsity sports teams at Wellesley go into their seasons with a specific goal in mind: to win the NEWMAC Tournament at the end of conference play. The lacrosse team also hopes to accomplish this feat, but Coach Schoenberger encourages her athletes to think about what they can do well in every practice session and game instead of dwelling on the bigger picture. She shared, “Our goal is really just to take it day by day and focus on the task at hand. We always have the NEWMAC goals, we always have the ‘win as much as we can’ goals, but we really try and remain focused on the process and believe in the journey.”
Though Wellesley Lacrosse will be matching up against some of the most competitive Division III programs in the country, both Schoenberger and Sharkin are confident that the team has the talent and the drive to compete at this level and accomplish their goals. Both women agree that the group’s companionship is one of the many things that set them apart.
Schoenberger commented, “I think we have a really connected team. I think they’re fun, they’re caring, and they’re supportive of each other. They know that we can push through anything. We’ll enjoy the really good times and push through the hard times and have each other’s backs in the process. That’s always a goal for teams, and we have it. I think it’s going to take us a really long way.”
The team’s first home game will take place on Saturday, March 4 against Endicott. Make sure to come down to the lacrosse field at 1 p.m. to support your Wellesley Blue!