As the women’s lacrosse team headed into its first game of the season, players had high hopes for success. Despite a 17-8 loss to Pennsylvania’s Widener University on March 3, coaches and players still predict a strong showing during the remainder of the season.
After opening the season Feb. 28 at the Pacific Play Day, the Wildcats faced five opposing teams March 3.
“[Saturday’s] games let us play together as a team for the first time,” first year head coach Tim Hart said. “The team benefitted from using a live opponent to work the problems out,” Hart said.
The players left the kinks behind and charged onto the field against Widener on March 3.
The game’s intensity was high from the beginning as Widener junior Jackie Elliott, sophomores Mellany Broomall and Calina Walz and freshman Kara Atkinson scored four times within the first 10 minutes.
Widener continued its early lead with goals by senior Grace Cavanaugh, freshman Emily Solt, Elliott and Waltz.
With 14 minutes remaining in the first half, the Wildcats dug in their heels and fought back with five goals before the buzzer sounded. Sophomore attacker Tarie Caouette started and put Linfield on the board with a shot to the upper right side.
Wiedener sophomores midfielder Pinky Lam and attacker Monique Schreiber followed suit, and Caouette returned with another two goals before the end of the first half, leaving the ’Cats trailing three points behind.
The second half opened with four quick goals from Widener’s Elliott, Cavenaugh and Broomall, but Wildcat senior midfielder Michelle Dorris responded with a shot to the right corner that breezed past the keeper and kept Linfield in game.
Goals from Elliott, Solt, Walz and Broomall brought Widener’s total to 17. Linfield maintained its intensity and finished the game with another goal from Caouette and a first goal from freshman midfielder Taylor
The final score was disappointing to the team, but interaction between players both during their game against Widener and their preseason scrimmages Feb. 28 encouraged Hart.
“Communication was excellent,” Hart said. “They are already a really close team, and that is what is going to make us successful.”
Team captain senior attacker Sammy Smith said she was also pleased with the team’s interaction and camaraderie after their scrimmages and game.
“We were just throwing a group of girls together with little practice and little time playing together,” Smith said. “But by the end of the games, we began to trust one another more.”
Trust will be an important concept for this team, which includes 14 returning letter winners and seven new freshmen.
But junior midfielder Ashley Johnson said older players are already seeing the new teamates improve, judging by the successful offense of freshman midfielder Anna Gorciak. But she said the team has room to progress even further.
“We didn’t completely connect as a team,” Johnson said. “But with time and experience, I think that will come.”
The team will gain more experience in its coming games March 7 and 8. Another Pacific Play Day in Forest Grove will be held March 7, and a home game against University of Puget Sound will be played March 8