After a record-breaking 2019 season, the women’s lacrosse team is back on the field and braving the cold to get ready for another exciting season. Last year, the team made it to the Final Four at the NCAA tournament, an incredible feat that sets a powerful tone for the 2020 season. Like last year, the roster remains large, consisting of 35 women, which will allow the team to play many games during their training over spring break. 

With a strong leadership team of 11 seniors, the women are primed to continue their success this season. Abby Manning ’20 has led the charge on the offensive end throughout all her years as a Cardinal and undoubtedly will continue to do so. Goalie Allegra Grant ’20 has also been a powerful leader with her prowess on the defensive end of the field. 

The team boasts 11 first years this season, making its potential even greater with so many fresh faces. Many of the freshmen are defenders or midfielders, which gives the Red and Black a chance to renew and reinvigorate their historically strong defensive lineup.

The first years will try to contribute positively to the team both on and off the field. 

“I’m looking forward to them becoming part of our close-knit family this season,” said Josie Russ ’20, who is excited and prepared for her last season as a Cardinal.

Even though the season just started, the women have been working hard since the moment last season ended. Captain’s practices and team lifts have kept everyone in check and made sure the women’s motivation remains high. 

“Our team has been preparing for this season since the end of our season last spring,” Russ said. “We are in the weight room and on the field every day getting better in every aspect of the game.” 

Over spring break, the women will travel to Colorado, where they will play Colorado College and Plymouth State University on March 9 and 11, respectively. The trip provides a good chance for the Cardinals to hone their skills without the pressure of classes and will also hopefully lead to lots of team bonding, which will be critical given the number of first years joining the team. 

The Cardinals have wasted no time getting onto the field. Their season began promptly on Feb. 15, and with just two weeks of practice under their belt, they were prepared for competition. On Saturday, Feb. 29, the team traveled to Lewiston, Maine, to face off against NESCAC rival Bates. Competing on one of the coldest days of the winter could not have been easy, but Wesleyan accepted the challenge readily. The Red and Black came out victorious, tearing through the Bobcats on their home turf with a final score of 11–7. 

Manning continued her momentum from last season in the Bates game, scoring four goals and assisting on one. Julia Gretsky ’20 was also successful on the offensive end, with two goals and two assists. Johanna Copeland ’21 and Emma Richards ’20 also scored two goals apiece, and Grant clocked in at nine saves. The dual strength of the offense and defense made it impossible for Bates to close the gap. 

Next, the Cardinals will face Babson College on Wednesday, March 4, for the first home game of the season. Their success in Maine will certainly propel them forward and allow them to continue their excellent momentum. The team is just getting started, and the future looks bright, particularly with such strong leadership and so many new players. 

When asked what her goals for this season are, Russ cites team culture as invaluable to the team’s success.

“I’m hoping to maintain and build on the positive and strong team culture we had last year,” she said. “And obviously I want to win a national championship!” 

With the team’s hard work and collective love for the sport, she just may get her wish. 

Annie Roach can be reached at aroach@wesleyan.edu

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