As late April approaches, student athletes begin to see the increased pressure both on the field and in the classroom. The women’s lacrosse program is familiar with this final push before the end of the semester and the end of regular season games.
“We remind them that the hard work is done now—we just have to continue to push forward and raise the standard,” head coach Carly Ritchlin said. “We’re not going to cruise through the last few games, but we’ve already faced tough competition and we know our strengths and weaknesses.”
The attitude now is to put everything together, building upon the lessons learned earlier in the season. The team dynamic is at a high point; the players are working together on the field better than ever. There are two solid weeks of lacrosse left in the regular season to show what they have.
The Knights’ record is slightly below .500, yet they still have a fighting chance for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament, which is the ultimate goal for any SUNYAC team’s season. The team has not given up any hope; instead, they are using their position for motivation. Even after a 13-10 loss to No. 15 SUNY Cortland on Saturday April 15, the team took many positives from the game.
“We came out and played one of our best games [against Cortland],” Ritchlin said. “We went head to head for the entire 60 minutes, and even though they scored two quick goals at the end, I’m very proud of the team and where we’re at.”
After playing Cortland, the team found success against SUNY Oswego on Tuesday April 18. The 13-4 win was a crucial one for the Knights. Now 6-7, the Knights are hoping to make the most of the last few games of the season to gain advantage in the seeding in the SUNYAC Tournament.
Tuesday April 18’s game against Oswego was one of the first women’s lacrosse games that they’ve played this season on home turf. This season, they have played on the road quite a bit. The team has been traveling every weekend, which begins to take a toll on the players.
“That can get to you a bit—having to get on a bus and having to travel to the extent we have this season. That’s why it’s nice to have a home game,” Ritchlin said.
Additionally, playing here at Geneseo allows fans to watch the players, as well as any family members that live close by.
This is yet another example of how lacrosse interacts with other aspects of college life. Because of the home games, the athletes don’t have to worry about missing classes and rescheduling assignment due dates.
The team plays again on Tuesday April 25 at SUNY Fredonia. Without a game before then, players will get to enjoy a day or two off during the week—giving them the chance to catch up on school work before practicing hard the days preceding next Tuesday.
As the season winds to an end, these games—mostly against conference opponents—become “must win” games for the Knights. The team is committed to giving 100 percent of their efforts to furthering their success.