By Emily Hayes
The story has been the same the past four years for the Bridgewater State University women’s lacrosse team, win the conference championship and then lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“My ultimate goal is to win conference again,” said senior midfielder Taylor Clancy. “I want to get up to the NCAAs more since we win our conference and everyone just thinks that we win our conference and go, but I want us to pass the first round and get on the same page with those schools.”
The Lady Bears have made some changes as Holly Drown is now the head coach as she replaces Erika Smith, the all-time winningest head coach in program history, after she retired at the end of last season.
The team had a high turnover rate from last season, as ten new players joined the squad. The Lady Bears will see what the new players can do right away as they begin their season on March 4 when the host Mount Holyoke College.
“I’m excited about the team we have this season,” said junior attack Riley Cachelin. “We have ten new players, we have a young team, but everyone’s doing awesome. We’re excited about the freshman and all their potential.”
Despite many young players, the Lady Bears still have a core group of veterans. Cachelin and senior midfielder Taylor Clancy return as well as sophomore goalie Chandler Ross, senior attack Melanie Appleman, and sophomore midfielder Lauren Geary.
Clancy and Cachelin were the two leading scorers last year, as Clancy scored 60 goals and Cachelin scored 51. Clancy also had 24 assists and Cachelin had 27 assists. The third leading scorer, assist leader, and point scorer was Geary with 44 goals, 22 assists, and 66 points.
Besides having new team members and a new coach, the team has two new captains as well in Clancy and senior Braylan Wenzel.
“I was actually really happy when I heard I was a captain just because I see myself as a leader,” Clancy said. “I just feel like I could help to successfully lead this team with Braylan. I think we have a really good upper class so I feel like not just the captains but everyone in the upper class could help everyone else.”
With all these new pieces, the team is going to have to learn how to compete together from the outset.
“I’m just excited to see what we can do and what our potential is,” Drown said. “Right now, we’re just kind of figuring out, putting the pieces together, and I’m excited to see the puzzle together to see us in a game and see what we can do.”
After winning conference championships in the New England Women’s Lacrosse Alliance and MASCAC the past six seasons, the Bears hope to make it another championship season this year.
“A goal that we have every year that we want to keep this year is to win the MASCAC Championship and stay undefeated to those teams in the season,” Cachelin said. “We’ve never lost to a MASCAC team and so we’d like to keep that up.”
Emily Hayes is a Comment sports writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.