Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/22/10
Mercy College (N.Y.) freshman women’s lacrosse player Lauren Mateja – a graduate of Upper Merion – will be blogging on Phillylacrosse.com courtesy of a special content sharing partnership between Phillylacrosse.com and Mercy College.
Mateja is the starting goaltender for the Mustangs as they gear for their first season of NCAA action. A Division II team, Mercy, located in Dobbs Ferry, Westchester County, will open its season on Wednesday, March 3 at Manhattanville.
Mateja was an Academic All-American last year and a winner of the Phillylacrosse.com/Longstretth Scholar-Athlete of the Week honor. An English major, she will be writing a blog on her experiences as both a player and a college freshman.
Mateja’s blogs are already appearing two to three times a week on the Mercy College website at http://www.mercyathletics.com/sports/wlacrosse/2009-10/news/Lauren_Mateja_Blog Each week, Phillylacrosse.com will post her most recent blogs.
Mateja said she was approached by Mercy College’s Chris Gonzales, recently hired as the Assistant Athletic Director for External Operations, to be a regular blogger. The Mercy men’s team also has a blogger, Cody Jaworski.
“Chris Gonzales and is trying to promote Mercy athletics, especially lacrosse, since the programs are brand new,” Mateja said. “They approached me because I am the only goaltender on the team and my interests are pre-law and sports journalism
“They want me to give a perspective of a brand new program, coming from someone playing majority of the games. I am giving a first-hand experience. There are so many brand new programs; Florida at the D1 level and Lake Erie and Queens. We’re doing this in order to help Mercy stand out among first year programs.”
Mateja has written four blogs (see below) since the beginning of the month. She said she is getting positive feedback.
“A few of my friends that don’t play lacrosse here said they have been reading the blog and a few teachers have come up after class to tell me they are reading it,” she said. “People are catching on. They are excited to see how the women’s lacrosse program unfolds in its inaugural season.”
Here are her first four blog entries:
February 1, 2010
Bud Wilkinson, head coach for the University of Oklahoma Sooners between 1947 and 1963, was once quoted saying that “every game is an opportunity to measure yourself against your own potential.” For a first year program, potential isn’t just in games…it’s everywhere. And although competition does not start officially until March, we have already logged countless passes, catches and sprints in preparation for what lies ahead. We have definitely come a long way since our first practice back in September!
Only one word can describe the first week back: eventful. After moving back in, I was eager to see all of my teammates. I missed them so much over the five-week vacation! In a team meeting on Jan. 25, the first day of the spring semester, all of us greeted each other with huge smiles and tales of adventure from winter break. “Thirty-seven days, ladies, is all you have to prepare for the start of the season,” Coach told us. Now knowing what we had to do in the next months, excitement buzzed through the room.
Practice in the first week mirrored those at the height of fall ball. We worked on building upon the fundamentals of lacrosse: stick skills and communication. Outside of practice, we continued meshing as a team. With practice bright and early (6:30 a.m.), those of us who did not have class could have been found in the cafeteria grabbing a bite to eat afterwards. Later in the week, we even went out to dinner in celebration of Kerry’s birthday. Like any good friends, we convinced the waiters to sing her a rendition of happy birthday!
With every practice, each and every girl begins to find what this season means to them. So, as a part of the blog each week, I will try to feature one of the women’s lacrosse players and what this season means particularly to her. For me, the definition of this inaugural season comprises of four little words: once in a lifetime.
And so it begins…welcome to the inaugural season for Mercy College Women’s Lacrosse! Stay tuned, as I will attempt to let all our fans know what it is like to be part of history…knowing that each goal scored, each draw won, each blocked shot makes history.
February 8, 2010
With the end of another week comes more progress for our inaugural team. Besides the constant improvement on the fundamentals, we expanded a bit as well. Joining our roster were Dana Harjus, Kassie Phillips, and Rachel Ferri. Out of the three, Dana’s the only one with prior lacrosse experience and has already made an impact in our lineup. Kassie and Rachel, though, are making huge strides and will definitely challenge those with experience for time on the field.
The focus of our team for the second week was defense—sliding, communication, doubles. The coaches are constantly stressing that defense isn’t about using a desperate, sloppy check but rather a strong body defense. Basically, our defensive goal is to capitalize on the errors of the attacking offense. This style makes me even more excited, because it means fewer shots on goal!
This coming week should prove to be more exciting. We’re less than 25 days away from our first game versus Manhatanville and finally we’ve been able to get on our home field at SUNY Purchase. Some of us were so excited that we would even go off-roading to get to practice! Breathing in the cold air wasn’t exactly easy, but for the most part we didn’t care. We finally made it—those pesky turf pebbles were finding their way into our cleats and ground balls didn’t bounce away wildly. I can confidently say that lacrosse is a sport made for the open air and not the gym.
Hopefully this week the snow will stay away so we can continue to practice and grow on the turf.
February 16, 2009
Managing Human Conflict
The past week has proven to be incredibly busy on my end. Besides lacrosse and sleep, class has taken up most of my time. This semester I have a full fifteen credits—three classes at the Dobbs Ferry campus and two classes online. The class I’m most excited about this semester has to be Managing Human Conflict I (one of my online courses). The material, a combination of social sciences like psychology, sociology and political science, explains the nature of confrontation and how to resolve it. The other course I look forward to every week is Art of Legal Reasoning; it’ll definitely give me a taste of what a profession in law is like.
Wednesday’s practice was cancelled due to the snow storm. We definitely got a good amount of snow, but I missed out on the three-plus feet back home! Yet again this past week, practice has been building upon the fundamentals. I’m really excited on how our team is coming together. Everyone is beginning to know their roles on the field. The defense is especially starting to click, and constantly thwarts the offensive setups during practice.
Over weekend, we came together as a team and attended the women’s basketball PinkZone game after a timed three-mile run. We were a bit miffed that none of us won a nice raffle basket, but we were at least glad that the money went to a great cause.
Here’s to hoping the snow will melt soon!
February 19, 2010
As another week ends, we grow closer to our first real game. A mere twelve days separate us from the beginning of recorded history. Everyone’s so excited to finally showcase the skills we’ve been honing at each practice. It’s a chance for us to prove that Mercy Lacrosse means business.
Recently, the East Coast Conference released the women’s lacrosse preseason poll. Out of the eight team field, our little team came in sixth. Below us are Queens and Lake Erie, and above us are C.W. Post, Dowling, Molloy, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Seton Hill. While we’re not last, we’re not in the top either. We definitely want to live past the expectation that’s been branded on us.
One of our goals for the season is to be more than just teammates. I think the best part of being a member of an athletics team is the friendships that are created. Personally, I knew that coming to an out-of-state school would be a huge challenge. Having a core group of girls to talk to—almost like instant-friends—really helped me transition from high school to college. It’s kind of funny, actually; when I’m at school, I miss my friends from back home, but when I’m at home, I miss my teammates just as much (if not more!).
P.S.—Love you Coach Meg!!
Tags: Upper Merion