While most students departed for their personal spring break vacations, both the Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse teams embarked on the long-awaited spring break trips to the warmer weather of the South. After a blowout 17-2 victory over DeSales University on the frigid rain-soaked, frigid Clothier Field, the next day, March 4, the women’s team travelled to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina to enjoy practicing and bonding in some more temperate weather. The men’s team stayed at home a day later, losing a hard fought game 8-3 against Vassar College before their own trip to Clearwater, FL began. Both trips proved to be invaluable to the squads in bringing teammates closer together as athletes, teammates, and friends.
“Over the course of the week, we had so much free time to spend together and really just get to know one another off of the lacrosse field.” Bridget Silveira ’20 said.
For the women’s team, the trip only consisted of one game; however, the team practiced daily and improved significantly over the course of the week. In that single game, a 16-4 victory over Cazenovia College, the coaching staff tested their young talent, allowing for breakout performances across the board. Elizabeth Wainwright ’19 led the offensive onslaught with five goals to her name, while Sydnie Schwarz ’20 and Silveira chipped in four and two goals respectively. Fay Blelloch ’20 put in the final Garnet goal, the first of her collegiate career.
However, with only one game and a limited number of practice hours, the Garnet also made sure to find time to enjoy the beaches, sun, and amenities of the island. While staying in multiple houses on the island, the girls bonded while biking, exploring nearby towns, and taking multiple trips to the beach.
“Other than the time spent playing lacrosse, we had so much fun doing other things on our trip. Honestly though, the most fun we had was probably every night, when we would alternate making dinner for the entire team, get together in one of our houses, laugh, and hang out … ” Silveira said.
All the fun on and off the field definitely helped bring the team closer together, as the team entered conference play with a 5-0 start after returning home. The Garnet looks to carry this momentum into the toughest part of their conference schedule with bouts against nationally-ranked Gettysburg and Franklin & Marshall Colleges. Through this effort, the team hopes to set itself up to compete for a Centennial Conference title at the end of the school year. However daunting the schedule may be, the team cannot help but feel confident after such a successful trip and start to the season.
“We came back from break much closer as a team and excited to play together against some very competitive teams,” said Silveira.
Similarly, the men’s team had two games on their trip, overall reporting a positive experience both on and off of the field. The team battled a slow start in a tough 7-10 loss against Catholic University. However, with two losses in a row as a wake-up call, the team rallied as they came back to put up seven goals in the second quarter and eventually beat Rhodes 12-6. Unlike the women’s team, it was the experienced leadership on the team that pushed the Garnet back to peak form. Cole Fox ’17 set up the Garnet with 13 saves on the trip, while Matt Johnson ’18 and Cam Marsh ’18 commandeered the offense with five and four goals respectively. That shift in momentum proved to be enough for the Garnet, as they won their first two games back at Swarthmore too.
“That Rhodes win was big. It definitely gave us momentum and confidence for when we returned to Pennsylvania. It’s difficult to articulate, but I think our defense especially turned a corner in that game” said Isaac-Kleisle-Murphy ’20.
However, the men’s team enjoyed in all of the fun of sunny Florida, highlighted by trips to the beach, a boat ride with dolphins, and daily practice in the Florida heat. Some of the seniors on the team even commemorated their love of Swarthmore with tattoos of the “S” logo. All in all, the trip served both as a bonding experience and a growing experience for the team as a whole.
“The trip was a good opportunity for all of the guys to get together and hang out in a setting outside of school or lacrosse, which is an opportunity we do not get as often anymore” said Hunter Luber ’20.
At 5-3 overall, the team enters the tough Centennial Conference with high hopes for another season of improvement. Swarthmore lacrosse is certainly in a good place and looks to carry their momentum and team spirit from both of these trips into the rest of the season.