The first game of every season is the moment of truth when players and coaches discover whether or not the work they put in during preseason practices will pay off.
For most Elizabethtown College athletes, their unconventional first game of the season is always against past players that were once a part of their beloved team. Alumni games have grown into a well-known tradition for Etown’s athletes, and on this past Saturday Oct. 15, it was the women’s lacrosse team’s turn to participate in this ritual.
The team left the field with their heads held high after defeating their former teammates 22-12. The current players set the tone of the game early, as they scored their first goal within minutes of the starting whistle. Rebecca Porter, a junior, contributed a substantial number of goals in the first half alone. “It was nice to see the ability of our team and the potential that we hold for this coming season,” Porter commented.
The women’s lacrosse team holds off-season practices in the fall to help the players get back into shape after the long summer vacation, and they conclude their “fall ball” practices with the alumnae game. Porter was more than satisfied with their performance, despite missing a few of their key players due to other Homecoming Weekend obligations. “We knew that it was going to be a challenge to get in our groove of playing without some of our starters,” Porter added.
The players were not the only ones pleased with their victory. Head coach Mike Faith was surely as proud of his team as the families that came out to support the players. “I think our coach really expects the best out of us, and he knows how hard we have worked all fall in order to be that much more prepared for the spring. He always pushes us for excellence, and that is why we are so successful,” Porter said.
Everyone was thrilled by the skill level that the Lady Jays brought to the field that day. The alumnae team consisted of three All-American players and countless all-conference players who played major roles on past women’s lacrosse teams.
Playing against old teammates can be stressful for many players. Porter, however, saw this game as an opportunity to play once again with old friends from when she first began her Etown lacrosse career. “They will always be my teammates, and seeing them play again always makes me happy, even if they are on the opposing team,” Porter commented. She embraces the experience of the long-established alumni game and looks forward to the women’s lacrosse team’s spring season.
Porter believes the team has great potential for their upcoming season. “I know that last year’s conference loss to Messiah College left a bitter taste in all of our mouths and has made us that much more determined to get another shot at the MAC (Middle Atlantic Conference) Championship.” By ending their preseason practices with a victory over the alumnae, she feels that the team is ready to conquer any team they come up against. She described the win as “a great step in the right direction.” The women’s lacrosse team will also be gaining back numerous players that were injured during the fall season.
In addition to going after the MAC Championship title, Porter would also like the team to better support each other on and off the field. “When a team does that, they are unstoppable,” Porter added. The team is also going to be seeing a different schedule than they are used to because they have arranged for more games against teams that are ranked in the top 20 for their division. This will hopefully allow the team to improve their skills and help build a stronger program.
After finishing their fall season on a high note, the team is looking forward to the spring. Porter noted that the team consists of hard-working players and is eager to see what the spring has in store. As an individual, Porter’s goal for the spring season is to help her team any way she can. “An individual is only as successful as their team, and I am really hoping for an awesome junior year.”