Swarthmore women’s lacrosse had their first game of the 2018 season this past Monday, resulting in their first win of the season. With less than a month until conference play begins, women’s lacrosse is using every non-conference game to help them prepare for the upcoming season. Having lost only one senior last year, women’s lacrosse gained nine freshmen that can positively impact the team’s record this year. Winning their season opener on Monday, women’s lacrosse seems to be on the right track for a successful season. The next five games before conferences will give the team even more time to prepare and learn how to utilize their underclassmen along with their returners to have a good season.
The offseason, which for spring sports takes place from the end of their fall season until Feb. 1, can be a time to train and become more confident as a team and as individuals. Women’s lacrosse seems to have taken full advantage of this time off to improve for the upcoming season.Taylor Chiang ’18 gave her view on her team’s offseason training and the impact it will have on their season.
“The offseason has helped us a lot, especially since we’ve been focusing on being able to run longer sprint distance, which we will now have to do during games. We’ve been working hard in the offseason, particularly adapting to the new rules that were implemented this year such as a shot clock, free movement, and fewer people on the draw.”
The new rules that Chiang mentions were put in place this season in order to make the game move faster. One of the new rules, the shot clock rule, is very similar to basketball: when one team has possession of the ball they will be given 90 seconds to shoot on goal. If they don’t take a shot, then it will result in a turnover. Before this was implemented players had unlimited time to hold possession of the ball without taking a shot on goal. The free movement rule allows players to move around even after the referee blows his whistle; before, players had to freeze at the sound of the whistle. Fewer people on the draw only allows the six midfields to be responsible for the ball during this time, which will allow for a faster-paced game. For veteran players, these new rules will be a challenge to remember, but Swarthmore has been practicing them during the offseason, which will hopefully give them an advantage in their upcoming season.
As mentioned earlier, the women’s lacrosse team gained nine freshmen and had 18 returning players. With a roster this big, the Garnet have the ability to utilize more players in each of their games. Christina Labows ’18 is in her final year at Swarthmore and has high hopes for her predominantly underclassmen team.
“Compared to last year, our team has so much more potential. We have a core group of upperclassman leaders, our sophomore class is playing with confidence, and we gained a strong freshman class,” said Labows.
The Garnet are hoping to maintain their strong start into Conference play. Both Labows and Chiang feel that their team has a good chance in conference despite being ranked number eight in the Centennial Conference Preseason Standing Poll for women’s lacrosse. Having lost a few close conference games last year, the Garnet look to use all of their players as well as the hard work they have put in during the offseason in order to win as many games as possible this year. Their next game is at home this Saturday, March 3, at 1 p.m. against Widener.