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Monday, April 6, 2020

Succeeding with player-coaches

By Aaron Gillis

Last year, the Western women’s lacrosse team made it to nationals. This year, they don’t expect anything less.

The Vikings finished last season with a 14-3 record, winning the Northwest Women’s Lacrosse League for the second time in three years and finishing 15th in the nation in the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association national tournament.

This season, they look to improve on that.

The seniors have formed a tight-knit group over the years and are ready to “go out with a bang,” senior co-captain Amelia Chirichigno said.

“We’re bringing everything we’ve got this year,” Chirichigno said. “I think all the other players are feeling that energy, and our practices so far this quarter have just been super high focus and intensity.”

Sophomore Haley Johnson cuts through the lane early in the second half of Western’s 11-10 win over Oregon State on Saturday, Feb. 10, at home. // Photo by Nic Ulmer

All practices are ran by the players and they coach the team themselves instead of hiring a separate coach.

Senior co-captain Sarah Wyrick, who was a second team All-American selection in 2017, has high hopes for the upcoming season.

“Our team’s goal is to make it to nationals for the second year in a row,” Wyrick said. “With that goal in mind, we want to maintain positive, fun and focused attitudes throughout the season.”

Wyrick said last season’s success brings up difficulties for this one.

“A big challenge for the team is remaining determined throughout our long season,” Wyrick said. “Since we won regionals and went to nationals last year, we know teams are looking to beat us.”

Senior co-captain Amanda McKay said the team will look different than a year ago, most notably with the loss of goalie Sheri McCarty, who was an All-Tournament selection at nationals in 2017.

The Vikings raise their sticks during a timeout huddle in the first half of the Vikings’ 11-10 win over Oregon State on Saturday, Feb. 10, at home. // Photo by Nic Ulmer

Additions of four freshmen and a few transfers will play a factor in the team’s dynamic, McKay said.

“We have a lot of new players this year,” McKay said. “I am extremely excited to see them play this season because they all have amazing potential.”

Chirichigno said she’s also impressed with the new players already.

“Sometimes it takes freshmen a while to open up,” Chirichigno said, “but these players are already giving us seniors some sass. I love it.”

Team chemistry takes time to build, as players have to learn the system and how to play with each other, Chirichigno said.

“This year we’re developing almost a brand new defensive line, and already tremendous progress has been made with the rookies,” Chirichigno said.

The team wrapped up a home tournament this past weekend, going 2-1.

We are excited to get as many fans as possible out there supporting us,” McKay said. “I’m very excited to just have fun playing the sport that I love with some of my closest friends.”

The Vikings next home tournament is April 14 and 15 at the Wade King Student Recreation Turf Field.

 

 

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