Women's Lax plays close games against two nationally ranked opponents, but falls both times

For the second week in a row, the women’s lacrosse team faced off against two inter-conference squads, this time taking on Trinity and Tufts. In the past twelve years, Wesleyan has only beaten each of these squads a total of three times. Wes was looking to change the tides with two road wins against these opponents, but ended up falling to both teams.

“I think the team has played with a lot of heart and adversity so far this season with the leadership of our two seniors,” said interim head coach Kaila Gottlick. “We have a smaller team, so every single person contributes to the success of our team on a daily basis. Specifically in the past two games against Tufts and Trinity, I think we saw an immense improvement in our game versus Trinity, and our team played their hardest for a full 60 minutes. Throughout the season we have been reiterating playing all in for a full 60 minutes and our competitive practices have prepared us to take on any opponent.”

Gottlick recently took over the head coaching duties after head coach Amanda Belichick stepped down for the remainder of the season.

“I feel confident and prepared leading this team to success,” Gottlick said, “The biggest challenge is adjusting to making those bigger decisions during game time, but my past experiences have shaped my ability to be confident in making those decisions.”

The Argus asked Wesleyan’s newest head coach about her path to this point and everything that she’s accomplished in the world of lacrosse.

“I began playing lacrosse in 5th grade and continued on to play in college,” Gottlick said. “I played club lacrosse for Nor’ Easter in high school, and was recruited to play lacrosse on scholarship at Stony Brook University where I started my freshman year. I decided to transfer after my first year to The Ohio State University, where we were ranked as a top-10 team in the country. I was able to compete at the highest level in women’s lacrosse on scholarship and starting on the team.”

Gottlick went on to discuss her prior coaching experience, especially during her senior year in college following a serious injury.

“I have coached numerous club lacrosse programs during summers and winters on my school breaks, and I have also given private lessons to middle school and high school age girls throughout my college career,” Gottlick said. “After tearing my ACL my senior year spring two-thirds into the season, I was able to help my coach on the sideline and prepare my team for our trip to the NCAA tournament where we competed against Louisville.”

On Saturday, April 4, Wesleyan traveled to the Jumbos’ stomping ground of Medford, Mass. Even though Tufts is ranked 11th in the country, the Cardinals were able to stay within range after the first half, trailing by only a narrow 7-5 margin.

However, Tufts came out strong and firing to start the second half, netting five goals in the opening ten minutes. Wesleyan was unable to bounce back and Tufts proceeded to go on a 4-1 run later in the half to spread the advantage to 16-6.

The Cardinals clawed back a bit with two more goals of their own, but ended up falling short to the Jumbos, 17-8. Meredith Smith ’17 and Liana Mathias ’17 scored two points each, as Smith netted a pair of goals and Mathias scored one and assisted on another. Also with two Cardinal tallies was Captain Leah Sherman ’15, while Julia Black ’18 contributed a goal and an assist.

On Tuesday, April 7, the Cardinals traveled to Hartford to play the top-ranked Division III team in the nation, the Trinity Bantams. The contest was very close in the beginning of the first half, with Smith getting her fourth hat trick of the season within the opening 15 minutes of the game. Smith’s 24th goal of the season kept Wesleyan within one.

However, the Bantams went on a 5-1 run stretching between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second to spread their lead to 9-4. Goals from Morgan Moubayed ’17, her seventh, and Sherman, her eighteenth narrowed the difference to three at 9-6 with 15:09 to go.

However, Wesleyan never got any closer, as the Bantams quickly improved their lead to 11-6. Rachel Aronow ’17 posted her 11th goal of the season to make it 11-7 at the 5:35 mark. Trinity, however, ended the scoring at 1:48 for the 12-7 final. Nina Labovich ’16 had a strong game in goal for the Cardinals with 14 saves as Trinity held a 29-14 shots margin.

Wesleyan had a tough past four games, playing teams all ranked within the top twelve nationally. However, the squad was able to fight, play hard, and gain a lot of necessary experience. Gottlick spoke to the team’s chemistry throughout this difficult stretch of games.

“Our team chemistry has been great this season,” she said. “We have had many team bonding activities which really drew our team closer, but I think you’ll hear the girls say they are a very tight-knit group. This translates directly on the field because knowing your teammates’ tendencies allows the team to read plays in advance and work with each other instead of working individually on the field.”

The squad plays another challenging NESCAC rival at Williams this upcoming Saturday, April 11. It will definitely be a tightly contested 60 minutes, with the Cardinals hopefully coming out on top.

“The most important factor in playing well and continuing to improve is mental toughness,” Gottlick said. “Having the belief that you can conquer any team is hands down the most important factor in playing well. I am a huge believer in the power of your mind, and I think if we can continue to compete at practice these next three days with tenacity and grit, we will be successful against Williams on Saturday.”

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