Category Archives: Lacrosse

First-time players fill important roles for women’s lacrosse team

Women's Lacrosse

by Shelby Eden

The 2015-2016 school year marks the first official season of a women’s lacrosse program at the University of Northwestern. The addition of the new sport has allowed players who are brand new to lacrosse have an opportunity to participate in and contribute mightily in a collegiate sport.

By the time athletes reach the college level in a sport, they usually have trophies from that sport lined up in their childhood bedroom, have attended camps in their respective sport each summer since third grade and have played critical roles on their high school teams.

Women's Lacrosse

First-time players come together on the women’s lacrosse team (photo courtesy of University of Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse.

However, for five lacrosse players on UNW women’s team, none of these things are true about their lacrosse journeys. For these five athletes, this season marks the first time they have learned basic lacrosse skills, participated in a lacrosse practice and played in a lacrosse game.

These first-time players are not just sitting on the bench in games either. Each athlete has played in every game and has started many of them for the Eagles—an opportunity that more experienced athletes in other sports do not always receive at the college level.

Molly Repp, a sophomore attack who has played in and started all seven games for the Eagles, has netted four goals this season. Coming into college, Repp was unsure if she would be able to continue athletics at the college level after playing volleyball and basketball and running track in high school, but she has found her place on the lacrosse team.

“I came here thinking that I would love to play a sport but thinking that it wouldn’t work out and that I am not good enough,” said Repp. “It’s exciting to step into this role as a new lacrosse player and see the success of my past athletic experience flow into this: it’s great seeing the hard work pay off for all of us.”

Benson, a freshman attack who has also started every game and has one goal for the Eagles, did not have a history in lacrosse before coming to UNW, but she played hockey for 13 years. Since Northwestern does not offer a women’s hockey program, Benson missed having the chance to be part of a team and has enjoyed her experience this season.

“I am very blessed to have gotten as much playing time as I have and to have given my team a goal,” said Benson. “I love getting to play and helping my team in any way that I can.”

Because the Eagles have a smaller roster of 14 players, with 10 having to be on the field at a time, everyone on the team has had the chance to play big minutes and make an impact in games. This fact, however, does not mean that the new players have not had to work hard to play at the collegiate level. These players have had to learn the rules and skills of the game that their teammates and opponents have picked up over previous lacrosse experience.

“Our goal always comes down to Colossians 3:23. We strive to compete with purpose, do the work and leave the results up to him.” – Taylor Deetjen

“Lacrosse is definitely the most nitpicky of the sports with cradling the stick and going for ground balls,” said Repp. “There are a lot more aspects of your body that you have to control along with the stick.”

She added, “The rules of the game are insane: you have to be aware of your body and make sure you aren’t too aggressive but be aggressive enough to go after the ball.”

Along with the new players having to learn many new skills in a short period of time to be game ready, Head Coach Taylor Deetjen has also had to adapt her game plans to fit the wide range of skills on the team: a task she proudly takes on.

“There is a huge sense of strategy being the coach. In life, whether it is in teaching or coaching, there are always going to be different skill levels,” said Deetjen. “It is meeting athletes where they are at and motivate to continue to work hard to get better. It is also very important placing players on the field where they can thrive in their team role.”

Although the Eagles are just 1-8 on the season, with their lone win coming against first-year program Concordia-Chicago, two of the team’s losses came by the score of 10-11 in competitive contests against Clarke University and Carroll University. The Eagles hope to avenge one of these losses with the mental toughness they have gained throughout the season in a rematch against Carroll at home April 23.

“We have learned how important it is for us to play with confidence and with perseverance against teams with more experience: we all have a great attitude going into games,” said Benson.

“I would love for us to come back and beat the team we were close to beating earlier this season,” said Repp. “I think it’s a chance for us to capitalize on the ability to play them again.”

Outside of athletic goals, players on the women’s lacrosse team work to be good disciples on the field and look to represent Christ in their pursuits: a goal that stretches far beyond athletic experience.

“Our goal always comes down to Colossians 3:23,” said Deetjen. “We strive to compete with purpose, do the work and leave the results up to him.”

“My goal is that other teams will continue to know that we are Christians, not just because we are a Christian university but because of the love we show them on and off the field,” added Benson.

Behind the jersey: lacrosse player Emily Wirtz

headshot_2_Wirtz_Emily

by Shelby Eden

headshot_2_Wirtz_Emily

Year: Junior
Major: Marketing
Hometown: Blaine, MN

Q: If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be and why?
A: If I could be any animal I would probably be a wolf because they’re beautiful animals. Also, because they travel in packs, they’re tough and they can live in Minnesota. 

Q: If you weren’t playing lacrosse at UNW, what sport would you play?
A: If I wasn’t playing college lacrosse, I would be playing hockey. I played hockey for 11 years, and I still play in tournaments sometimes. I love watching hockey and would love to coach hockey someday.

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Women’s lacrosse plays first game in program history

Jjunior captain Jenny Chamberlain made the first lacrosse goal in UNW women's lacrosse history (photo from the Women's Lacrosse Facebook page).

by Jocelyn Moses

This spring is a season of firsts for the University of Northwestern- St. Paul’s athletic department as the institution’s 19th varsity sport is being offered through school’s first ever women’s lacrosse team. This inaugural year brings many challenges but also excitement and passion. The team has begun practicing the past few weeks for their official debut against the University of Dubuque. The Eagles concluded their fall season with a scrimmage against Macalester College but is excited for what their official season has to offer.

The Eagles scored eight goals in the first lacrosse game in Northwestern school history. Jenny Chamberlain came away with four goals in the loss to Dubuque (photo by Rick Busch).

The Eagles scored eight goals in the first lacrosse game in Northwestern school history. Jenny Chamberlain came away with four goals in the loss to Dubuque (photo from Women’s Lacrosse Facebook page).

With the game requiring a twelve-person roster, seventeen Eagles gear up to make a run at making history at Northwestern. Many of these Eagle lacrosse players have played before and have decided to play at a Division III college, but many have never stepped foot on the field in a lacrosse uniform before. With such a new team, recruiting players has been difficult, and playing games is tough without many substitutes, but the Eagles are compensating and growing in numbers.

Junior captain Megan Cotter recalled previous years she played lacrosse, saying, “I played lacrosse from 8th grade until I graduated high school, as well as a season of club lacrosse for the university I studied abroad at in Galway, Ireland, last spring. Playing lacrosse for a D3 university is completely different from playing lacrosse in high school. My high school team played as a club, so we never had locker rooms or a trainer, and I definitely didn’t take lacrosse so seriously. I played just to have fun then, but I’ve realized that it’s even more fun to train and put in more effort for our sport.  We also weren’t sponsored by our high school at all, so the most people we had at games were our parents! Another huge thing is that I enjoy playing the sport so much more now because I get to play with other believers. I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my teammates in high school, so it’s been one of the biggest blessings to play for a team that is anchored in Christ.”

Jjunior captain Jenny Chamberlain made the first lacrosse goal in UNW women's lacrosse history (photo from the Women's Lacrosse Facebook page).

Jjunior captain Jenny Chamberlain made the first lacrosse goal in UNW women’s lacrosse history (photo from the Women’s Lacrosse Facebook page).

First-time lacrosse player Molly Repp said, “Playing lacrosse for the first time has been such a great experience. There are always adjustments being made, and I’ve learned to be flexible, go with the flow, and follow Coach’s lead. Having never played this sport before and coming onto a new team just makes everything more exciting because I never know what to expect! I’m really excited to just start playing against other teams. I love my teammates, but I’m getting tired of going against them in practice all the time. I want to see how we all come together on the field. We’ve been in preseason for a year and a half now so it’s been a long time coming!”

Experienced and inexperienced players came together in the excitement of the University of Northwestern’s first ever women’s lacrosse team. With history in the making, fans gathered to watch the Eagles take on the University of Dubuque at Augsburg’s dome this past Saturday night.  Despite the lack of being able to make stick-to-body contact, the field was full of aggressive players ready to take home a victory. The field, the same size as a soccer pitch, is divided into thirds, serving as restraining lines for certain positions and was filled with excitement as the eagles fought for a win.

Junior Jenny Chamberlain led the Eagles in goals as they fought for a victory but were defeated with a final score of 21-8. Despite being beaten in their first game, Northwestern played well against the Spartans. They held possession and made transitions from defense to offense effectively. Even the coach of Dubuque complemented the Eagles on playing a well and hard-fought game. When catching up with Cotter after the game, she stated, “Despite losing our very first game, we all had such a great time! The game and our team made it so much fun. We’re looking forward to continuing training hard for our next games in Colorado over spring break.”

Watch the video highlights of Northwestern’s first women’s lacrosse game.

Sports complex sparks excitement

New Stadium

“These facilities will host student athletes, intramurals, physical education classes, and
the general public,” said Matt Hill, vice president for Student Life and Athletics.

by Megan Whiting

The University of Northwestern – St. Paul welcomes a new and improved sports complex to the campus this fall. Athletes and fans alike are pumped and ready to use the high quality athletic facilities.

“The complex provides three multi-purpose turf fields with lights (softball, baseball, football/soccer/lacrosse) and six tennis courts. Included in the new facility are bathrooms, concessions stands and four locker rooms. These facilities will host student athletes, intramurals, physical education classes and the general public,” said Matt Hill, vice president for Student Life and Athletics.

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