The Endicott women’s lacrosse team looks to model the success of last season and establish themselves as a tough opponent in the talented CCC. With a versatile attack and a veteran core to their name, the Gulls plan on racking up the wins early on in the season.
A season ago, the Blue and Green finished the regular reason with an astonishing 14-4 record, and an even more impressive 8-0 record within the conference. That momentum built up through every contest and the season of course ended with the team’s second straight CCC Championship.
However, that was then, and this is now. After the club’s first two matchups getting postponed courtesy of the weather, the Gulls took center stage.
The season opener featured the team traveling to Williams, where the Ephs would gain the advantage and win the contest by a score of 9-7. The Gulls collected the all crucial first victory against Babson, but fell two nights later at the expense of Wheaton.
With a disappointing 1-2 record to kick off the season, the team was hungry for a win as they hosted MIT last Wednesday. It was a picture perfect start for the home team, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in just the first four minutes of play.
MIT responded and cut the lead to just one in the second half, where Endicott would respond with diligence and net six unanswered tallies. With junior Jennifer Lacroix potting four goals on the night, the Gulls evened their record to a respectful 2-2.
University of New Haven graduate and current Endicott coach Maureen Spellman is in the midst of her second season at the helm. With 22 games under her belt, the Gulls have responded quite well under Spellman with an extraordinary 16-6 record.
Spellman’s mindset as the coach of the team is one of innovation, not vanity. The head coach feels the team needs to improve day in and day out in order to be ready for the challenges ahead, and it will only help the team in the long run.
“We spend a lot of time trying new things, and we spend a lot of time instilling self motivation… It’s a different coaching style than some of them are used to, especially the ones that have been here for a little while. I really think that motivation comes from within,” said Spellman.
Making adjustments and the element of surprise are two important aspects in the world of sports, and these philosophies are included in Spellman’s approach to the game. She went on to say the team is trying something that’s very rare in women’s lacrosse. They aren’t necessarily playing the experienced upperclassmen throughout the entire course of the game, but instead are shuffling players of all ages in and out of the game in order to make things harder on the opponent.
As Spellman said, this tactic may be a challenge for some of the players on the team. However, the creative change of pace has the potential to spark the team, and leave the opponent guessing for answers.
“We want to pass down experience and pass down quicker so we can get younger people on the field more, have more bodies so we have fresher legs. But the main reason is to be unscoutable,” said Spellman. “We’re really trying to push to play 24-25 people a game rather than 12-13.”
Spellman isn’t thrilled with the 2-2 start, but sees the proper attitude and potential within the team. She stresses the point of turning the negatives into positives and looking at each loss as an opening for improvement.
“Taking care of the ball, that’s a big one… and you can’t win when you have over 25 turnovers in a game.” said Spellman. “We have to change the way we practice, practice the way we play a little bit more, a little bit more ownership.”
Junior attackman Meghan Dutchyshyn has been a major part of the Gull’s current offensive outburst to begin the season, with four goals and two assists in a mere four games. Including Dutchyshyn, the team is comprised of 14 upperclassmen, leaving lots of room for them to pass down the knowledge they’ve learned thus far.
“When I was a freshman, I was terrified and I didn’t know what to do, and the upperclassmen really give you the confidence to understand what’s going on because they are more knowledgeable than you. There’s just a good connection always between the upperclassmen and the underclassmen,” said Dutchyshyn.
Dutchyshyn has not only taken up her veteran role with excitement, but enjoys being a part of a team comprised of numerous different playstyles. With all of the opponents the team will encounter in the next few months, she feels the group is going to catch a lot of teams by surprise.
“It’s not just that we have a lot of upperclassmen contributing, we also have a lot of underclassmen contributing and that’s a big thing because these teams have not seen the freshmen play at all so they don’t even understand or know how good some of our players are,” said Dutchyshyn.
The team is certainly in the learning portion of the young season and aims to prove a lot of teams wrong come playoff time. The club resumes play this Sunday, March 17th against Southern Me. with a starting time of 10:30 A.M.