Coming off a 1-11 campaign in the team’s first season, KSU’s women’s lacrosse squad is simply looking to build on the foundation that began a year ago. They’ll be right back in the gauntlet on Feb. 7 when they open on the road against Vanderbilt.
One of the toughest tasks the team faces early on is how they replace the production of Senneca Ward, who led the team in goals with 32, and in shots on goal at 48 for the Owls last season.
“Senneca was an exceptional athlete, and was a huge part of our program last year,” head coach Kristina Llanes said. “I feel ttoeand some of the returners have developed their game over the past fall, and I think that we will boyowithout Senneca”
Theeete13 newcomers, with 11 of them being freshman.
“We talk a lot about eveyrone contributes in different ways,” Llanes said. “I’m expecting them toe,’mxtto mature as student athletes, and they’ve shown me that they can do that. I expect them to learn from every competition we come across this spring.”
One of the biggest questions left remaining for the team is who will win out the starting goalkeeper position, as there has been an ongoing coweNicholette Hannah and Allison Senft, along with freshman Peyton Murdock.
“Right now they all are playing really, really hard”Llanes said. “They’re fighting for the starting position. It is a unique position on the field where they do get substantial playing time when they win it out. I’m excited to see in the last two weeks who steps up. We have a scrimmage weekend coming up and that’s going to be a huge factor on who goes in against Vanderbilt.”
With the abundance of youth, there are still several key returners bolstered by senior Emily Collins. Along with Collins, myaia,defenders Taylor Southerland, Kyra Ferguson, and Whitney Draper will all play vital roles if the team wants to accomplish its goals.
For Collins, being the only seunique, and something she has embraced. Collins’ advice to all the newcomers is simple.
“Go out there and practice every day, you’re going to learn through experiences. A lot of t,’,if they need anything, I usually just kind of tell them to watch it through, experience it first than ask some questions,” Collins said. “It’s a process that they’ll learn.”
The offseason for the players has been drastically different this year as compared to last. Coach Llanes said they were able to provide the players with more out of season competition which included several fall ball tournaments.
When the season begins Friday, Feb. 7 against the Commodores, the team will be ready to prove to the Atlantic Sun conference that they have noete
“We want to fight for a conference championship. Our vision stays the same,” Llanes said.