Multi-Sport Players Give GV LAX a Sharper Edge
May 3, 2012
At this midpoint of the spring season, the girls lacrosse team is a work in progress as coaches and players look to develop the skills and cohesion that is integral to their team's success. Having lost much of its senior core talent and experience from last year, the team is looking to capitalize on their particular edge: the competitive drive, athleticism and experience of its many multisport athletes.
"I think one of our greatest team strengths is the game sense that comes from playing multiple sports," says midfielder Carlin Zia '13. "A lot of the team, myself included, had little to no lacrosse experience and picked it up at Exeter. The experience of playing other sports allowed us to transition easily to lacrosse because everyone sees the field well and understands flow and positioning. Another advantage is that most of us have played together on other teams for several seasons so team chemistry is already strong. The team is full of competitive drive, developed in other seasons of hard-fought games, so we really know how to dig in, which is often the deciding factor in a lacrosse game."
Here's some indication of the athletic versatility of this year's team:
- Ten players are on 1 other varsity team.
- Eight players are on 2 other varsity teams.
- Four players are varsity captains of another sport: Lauria Clarke '12 (ice hockey), Hope Wilson '12 (field hockey), Campbell Probert '12 (field hockey, LAX) and, most impressively, Martha Griffin '12 (soccer, ice hockey, LAX).
The inevitable change in personnel from last year has caused some shifts and experimentation in the team's style of play. Midfielder Taylor Smyrnos '12 explains it this way: "A new team brings the challenge of finding a way to successfully harness everyone's skill. This year we are relying heavily on our team's athleticism, as opposed to last year where we were able to lean on the stick skills of players who have graduated. This is what I love about our team: We are able to figure out how we can make ourselves the best team possible with what we are given."
The coaches recognize how they need to build on the team's strengths during the season. "We are not necessarily a team made up of lacrosse players yet," says Head Coach Mercy Carbonell. "Part of our coaching challenge is to help them find themselves as LAX players. As a result, we are doing a lot of basic skills. They have an incredible amount of speed that we can exploit." For example, the midfielders are fast enough to defend man-to-man and then create double teams.
The toughest loss for the girls so far was against Thayer, who put the team in situations where their basic stick skills fell apart leading to dropped balls, bad passes and holding the ball too long. "The biggest thing that Thayer showed us was the need for composure and the importance of possession," says Zia. "We realized that we stopped playing our game and lost our heads a little. In the second half, when we calmed down and got back to basics, the game was much more even. Part of the difference between the first and second half was possession, which ties in to composure. Thayer controlled almost every single draw in the first half. We won a few more draws in the second half, which got us back into the game."
Perhaps another one of the team's strengths may be its resilience and camaraderie. Marley Jenkins '15 – the youngest player – felt welcomed from the beginning. "I feel like everyone respects each other as a player, and I rarely feel my young age when I'm interacting with the team. The girls are awesome!"
Without a team tournament to work toward, the team sets its own goals with a spirit of tackling 1 game at a time. Nora Cullen '14, a new varsity goalie this year, describes hers and the team's perspective: "I try to concentrate on the future and forget about the last shot; you can't change it. I think as a team, we've learned that when setbacks happen during a game – like being scored on – you have to put it behind you and concentrate on the now."
Interested in learning more?
Check out the team pages for team rosters, schedules and results...
— Mike Catano