Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/28/17
From Press Release
Coming off a strong 13-win season, the Lehigh women’s lacrosse team began preseason practice late last week ahead of a much-anticipated 2017 campaign. The Mountain Hawks return much of its roster, led by the team’s three senior co-captains Lauren Beausoleil, Julianne D’Orazio (Merion Mercy) and Allison LaBeau, who were all named to the All-Patriot League team in 2016.
“We’re definitely excited to be back,” said Beausoleil. “Winter break went pretty fast for all of us. We started with our run test and a short practice with stick work. We’re really getting into the swing of things. Our coaches are doing a great job of making each practice a different focus.”
“I think it’s nice that we came back a little later than some of the teams across the country,” said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. “It really helps preserve our enthusiasm for getting the season started. The team came back prepared and excited to get going.”
The Mountain Hawks finished last season 13-5, 6-3 in Patriot League play, earning the No. 4 seed in the league tournament. Lehigh won 10 straight home games, a school record in the Patriot League era. The Mountain Hawks beat Colgate in the Patriot League Quarterfinals, 13-6, their largest margin of victory over Colgate since 1996 and their first postseason win against any team since the 2010 Patriot League semifinals against Holy Cross.
Lehigh’s chemistry has been strong through the fall and heading into the spring campaign. The team understands that little things add up to success in the long run.
“We made sure that people were being held accountable over the winter break through (Head Strength and Conditioning Coach) Eric Markovcy and through the coaches, making sure people were doing lifts and runs,” said LaBeau. “People were motivated to stay in shape and come back ready to go.”
“One of the identities this team owns is just continuing to get better,” said Redfern. “They work really hard on their own individual skills, which translates to the team.”
A new aspect of the women’s lacrosse game set for 2017 is a 90-second shot clock, which the Mountain Hawks played with this fall.
“We actually didn’t notice that much of a change because you don’t realize how fast your plays go in the transition game; it’s really quick anyway,” said LaBeau. “We only got caught a few times, but it was really nice to practice with it in the fall and be able to make some adjustments. We’re excited for it this spring.”
For the freshmen, they normally have to get used to a faster game in college. Add the shot clock dimension and the game should become even faster.
“Our freshmen are very committed, constantly asking upperclassmen questions,” said Beausoleil. “The willingness to learn has been awesome.”
For now, the goal is to keep making every aspect of the team’s game better to prepare the Mountain Hawks for their Feb. 18 season opener at 2016 National Semifinalist Penn State.
For the Mountain Hawks’ three captains, there is admittedly a different sense of urgency heading into this season, knowing it’s their senior campaigns.
“It definitely feels weird to be a senior and be the head of the classes,” said LaBeau. “I wouldn’t say there’s a sense of urgency, but there’s a sense of pride we want to display. I do believe this is the team talent-wise, determination-wise and commitment-wise to make it happen, to win the Patriot League and make it to the NCAA Tournament.”
To reach that point, the Mountain Hawks know a lot of hard work will be required.
“Our mantra is ‘earn it,’ which I think is something we displayed in the fall,” said Beausoleil. “Our coaches aren’t just going to throw in people because they’re juniors and seniors. Everyone that’s on the field and is playing is there because they’ve earned their positions. If we play with that mentality and toughness, and compete every day at practice, it’s going to show in the games.”