Good just is not good enough anymore. After going 8-8 and posting the best conference record in school history, a .500 record will not be good enough for players and fans of the 2004 women’s lacrosse team, and it certainly will not be enough to get them into the NEC Tournament. The good news for the Bobcats is that this year’s team has depth and experience, two tools absolutely necessary to success in any team sport.
Both captains, seniors Jen Belk and Ann Paquette agree that depth is the greatest strength of the team, “We have solid starters and a deep bench. Everyone is very versatile on the field,” Belk said. The team not only has depth, they have young depth. Lauren Dyer, Megan Goodhand, Alexis Morrell, Sophia Pantelides and Ashley Thompson will surely be a shot in the arm for the team, and all earned high praise from Head Coach Stephy Samaras.
“This class boasts experience, talent, and athleticism,” said Samaras. “It brings to Quinnipiac stickwork, strength and field sense, which will aid the upperclassmen.”
Each new player boasts an impressive high school resume, and will be expected to continue that success on the next level, “This season every single freshmen is very talented and we expect great things from each of them.”
Speaking of this season, the biggest task the team faces is improving on their dismal 3-6 road record of a year ago. With six of the team’s first ten games on the road, there is not much time for Quinnipiac to adjust.
“What we are looking for this season is consistency,” Belk said. “It doesn’t matter if we are playing a team here or on the road, we need to take care of business.
A big factor in the team’s consistency lies in the departure of powerhouse University of Maryland-Baltimore County, who took the NEC conference championship in five of the last six seasons. With the Retrievers moving to the America East Conference, the chances of Quinnipiac’s 4-4 conference record improving are definitely increased.
With one powerhouse out of the way, now they just have to worry about Maryland, “It is important to win every game, but I feel that we need a few big wins under our belt early, especially before we play the University of Maryland,” Belk said. “Maryland right now is the number two team in the nation. If we are able to win our games prior to this contest, we have a shot at a huge upset.”
With UMBC our of the picture, and a solid young core of talented freshmen, there is no reason that the Bobcats should not win the NEC this year, and Inside Lacrosse Magazine agrees, a fact that is not lost on Belk, “the pressure is on.”
Despite the pressure, Paquette is up to the task, “My goals for the 2004 season are to lead this team to the NEC tournament and then to win the NEC. This season we have everything it takes to be a championship team.”
In order for that goal to become a reality, the Bobcats must get another great season from juniors
Christy Smallman, Kate Danowski and Amy Willis. Each exploded offensively for the team last season, and that offensive success must continue if the team is going to capture the NEC title.
Young, talented freshmen, a veteran group of returning players and a weaker NEC Conference, all point to the Bobcats at the top of the NEC at the end of the season.