Editor’s note: The original version of this story included players saying former NWWLL president Tracey Garrett was the reason behind the team’s probation. This information has since been removed.
The team is the Northwest Women’s Lacrosse League 2015 regional champions. It has two players in the top 10 for most goals scored for the 2016 season. The team is currently tied with University of Washington for the top spot in the Division I league standings, with 8-4-0.
So what’s is the secret for the Western women’s lacrosse team? It may be the fact that the team has no coach to lead it.
Instead, the club team of 24 players is led by three co-captains who are responsible for their own position groups on the team.
“We don’t really have it in our budget to pay for a coach. So [co-captains] are the next obvious step. I don’t think we’ve ever had a coach, officially. So it’s just kind of how our team has always been,” senior team president and defense captain Kaitlin Ades said.
Ades’ co-captains for the team are junior Amanda Hultz as the attack captain, and senior Hannah Gose as the midfield captain.
“It’s definitely a different dynamic,” sophomore attack and midfield Sarah Wyrick said. “Usually you’re used to somebody that’s a lot older than you and who has the coach name.”
Each captain cites their individual experiences in sports for their leadership skills, although Hultz said she draws inspiration from her dad.
“He’s coached me in every single sport. One of his big mottos that I’ve just kind of taken with me through every year is, ‘You’re not only here to learn about the sport you’re playing, you’re here to learn about yourself as a person and as a leader,’” Hultz said.
Along with strong leadership, friendship is a major contribution the team’s success and, as Ades said, it’s the most crucial.
“I think being friends off the field makes us play better as a team and I think being self-coached allows us to be better friends off the field,” she said.
There are no try-outs. Anybody who wants to join the team can, as long as they pay the fees.
“Every year that I’ve been on the team, there’s been at least one, if not two or three [women] that have either never played or maybe they played one year in high school, five years ago and they’re trying to pick it up again,” Gose said.
However, the co-captains don’t believe in giving each player a chance to “play evenly”, something that other teams, like the University of Washington, don’t do. Everybody gets to play, but each game begins with typically the same starters, unless they’re injured or have missed practice, Hultz said.
“We uphold a really high level of expectation and playing… These games are close games. Starters play pretty much the whole game, because those are the people we can rely on, skill-wise [and] attitude-wise.” Gose said. “We’re here to win, we’re here to go to nationals.”
A goal the captains are confident they will be able to achieve.
“I really do believe that we are the best team in the league and that we can win regionals. We just have to play our best.” Hultz said.
She referred to the NWWLL regional championship in April, which the Vikings will host for the 2016 season since they were the Division I NWWLL regional champions last year, according to a Western Today article. Despite winning regionals in 2015, Western, as well as every other university club team in the division, were unable to attend nationals.
With their probation lifted and their season standings at 8-4-0, things look bright for the close-knit team of not only team members, but great friends, as they prepare for regionals.
A weekend they are certain they will win.
“I’m definitely confident that we can do it. Our goal that we set at the very beginning of the season was to go to nationals and we can definitely do it,” Ades said.