Stevenson University’s women’s lacrosse team will begin their 2016 season on Feb. 20 against Salisbury University. Last year, the Mustangs lost to the Sea Gulls in double overtime, and after the 2015 season, many players on the team graduated.
“In order to prepare for 2016, a new group of players had to be trained for the attack position,” said head coach Kathy Railey. The team has been practicing since Jan. 17 to get ready for the new season.
After the game against Salisbury, Stevenson will face six more teams in the top 20 of their division within the first half of their season. Salisbury University, Middlebury College, Gettysburg College, Franklin and Marshall College, State University of New York at Geneseo, Messiah College, and Tufts University are all pre-season ranked in the top 20 by Laxpower polls.
During spring break, the team will travel to Puerto Rico to improve and hone their skills. The Mustangs will scrimmage Colby-Sawyer College and Springfield College.
Railey has coached for 25 years, which has given her the ability to assess what the players need to work on just by observation. She has been coaching at Stevenson University for 10 years, and is familiar with the competition, which she believes should help the team succeed.
Sophomore Lauren McDevitt, a defensive player, said she hopes the team reaches the Middle Atlantic Commonwealth championships and wins it all. Railey added that the team is very supportive of each other and they share the common goal of winning the conference.
Juniors Olivia Monteiro and Rachael Akshar and seniors Kellie McLaughlin and Carli Bafford work together as team captains to lead the younger players. Monterio said that each team captain has her own strengths, which make them a dynamic group of leaders.
Akshar and McLaughlin both play defense, Bafford is a midfielder, and Monteiro is on attack. “We can each reach all of the players and bring their concerns to the table,” said Monteiro.
Railey added that the team captains are the role models on the field.
“This is the most supportive team I’ve seen in years,” said Railey. The team will continue to prepare for their first game on Feb. 20.