CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Lee University women’s lacrosse team has made history. The first win since the team’s establishment was recorded Feb. 11, 2018, as Lee took home an impressive victory against Point University. After a lacking first season, Lady Flames Lacrosse is officially on the map.
Reflecting on the progress the team has made, team captain Brianne Schapira describes the girls' 2017 season as a challenge. Training twice a day, every day, Schapira says it was upsetting to not see the results at the games they had so diligently practiced for. The team faced a difficult set of obstacles throughout the season as teammates were lost for the season due to injury.
“Being accustomed to down one to three players every game, it’s incredible to see what a full roster can do for the performance of a team,” said Schapira.
Despite the struggle in the previous season, Schapira noted immense excitement about the game against Point. She recalls at the beginning of the game it took the girls some time to get rolling, but they were overall confident in their skills against Point.
“When I scored the first goal of the game, it was more of a ‘well finally, that's a relief’ kind of moment. It took us a while to get our first-game jitters out, but once we did, we began to play lacrosse like I've never seen us play before.”
Statistically, Lee topped the Skyhawks in nearly every category. The Lady Flames had 53 shots, caused eight turnovers and raked in a whopping 47 ground balls.
“Our transitions were smooth, the re-defend was aggressive, and our overall connection on the field was amazing,” Schapira said. “The caliber of lacrosse we played on Wednesday was at a level I never thought I would be playing at.”
Senior Hanah Rotello regards the team’s first win as clear evidence of their hard work. She said the team has been through a lot of morning workouts and regularly sore legs, but everyone’s efforts have led to team bonding and unity.
“I think that [team bonding] was the thing that really helped us,” Rotello said. “We started playing together as a team rather than individuals.”
The match was an excellent stage for several talented players. Kaylyn Dillion and Becca Broadwick were the highest scorers of the game with three goals each. Abbie Mercuri was the second highest scorer with two goals, and in the last 59 seconds of the game she scored Lee’s final point, taking the Lady Flames to a 14-6 victory.
The team has felt enormous exhilaration regarding their first win. Rotello explains the team showed up ready to play. Being fired up and prepared to get moving made a huge difference in the performance and attitude brought to the field.
“We had been itching to play for about a week, so stepping onto the field we were ready to go. We brought a lot of energy and it felt really good to get a win.”
Schapira added a note of gratitude for her team and to those diligently supporting the girls throughout their practices and games.
“I can't begin to explain what this first win means to us. The Lord has been so good to us, and I think it's important for us to stop and remember that He is the one who's given us the ability to play this game we love so much.”
Both senior captains are extremely proud of the hard work they’ve received from their teammates and are looking forward to playing the rest of the season.
The Lady Flames remained hot the following week and are now 2-0 to start the season. A gutsy effort against Erskine College gave the girls a 12-11 win.
With conference play approaching fast, there is still plenty of work to do for this second-season lacrosse team. The Lady Flames take on the University of Alabama in Huntsville tomorrow and will return to Cleveland this weekend to take on Lees-McRae College.