The Mustangs’ women’s lacrosse team is starting off their spring campaign 0-3 for a third consecutive year. They are coming off a 16-2 loss to Franklin & Marshall College on March 5 at Tylus Field.
“We’ve learned a lot from these losses,” said senior goalie Maggie Lawder. “We know what it takes to beat these top-20 teams. Most importantly, we know how great we can be, and that feeling after a loss will fuel our intensity level to succeed for the rest of the season.”
According to the IWLCA Coaches Poll as of March 7, all three of the Mustangs losses came to nationally ranked top-20 teams No. 3 Franklin & Marshall College, No. 6 Gettysburg College and No. 7 Salisbury University. “We’ve learned (in the three games) how important the draw is and how every 50/50 ball we have to work hard for it to gain possession,” said head coach Kathy Railey. “One thing’s for sure is that our defense is getting better.”
Despite the 0-3 start, the Mustangs’ hopes are still high on winning the MAC (Middle Atlantic Conference) Championship. The last time the Mustangs won the conference was during the 2014 season, when they also started the season 0-3. They went on to defeat Messiah College 13-12 in the conference championship game and earned an automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA tournament.
“These top-20 teams really help us to play at a high level. They can help our young team with experience, and it gives us a good shot to compete for a MAC championship,” said Lawder. The Mustangs hope to rally behind their leading team scorer, junior attacker Brady Heher.
As of March 4, Heher had five goals on the season, all of which came in the 17-10 loss to Gettysburg College. “I just look forward to the rest of the season and playing my best for the team,” said Heher. “I know we’ve started off 0-3, but we really are a family. Win or lose, we are bonding this season more than I have felt in the past.”
Heher and the rest of the team hope to continue to build that chemistry as they travel to Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium on March 11 to battle Washington College before they journey to Puerto Rico for their spring break trip, and play two games while in San Juan.
“Team bonding — going away on a trip together really is great for that,” said coach Railey. “They spend 24 hours a day with each other in tight quarters on and off the field, and it helps build our team chemistry.” As the Mustangs continue to develop their young team, the goal of a MAC championship is still intact.
The Mustangs have six non-conference games before MAC competition kicks off on April 1, against Alvernia University at Schlager Memorial Field.