With the final game of a frustrating and difficult season acting as the only separation between the women’s lacrosse team and some much needed vacation, one might expect the girls to already have one cleat packed in their duffel bags. On the contrary, if there is anything that this resilient team has learned this season, it’s to play hard until the very end and that’s exactly what the Red players plan to do when they travel to Baltimore to take on Loyola tomorrow.
“We are still trying to get better this week, get our attack to be a little more dynamic and secure our defense a little more,” said senior captain Margaux Viola. “We are really still trying to put together a full game. We definitely want a win.”
Loyola (2-13) has also struggled to get its season to fall into place this year. The challenges of having a relatively young team that has only four seniors and nine freshmen, in addition to a rigorous schedule against predominantly southern teams seems to have taken a toll on the Greyhounds. However, the Red (4-10, 3-4 Ivy) knows better than to underestimate its opponents. Loyola has taken two of its games into overtime this season and has proven to be a team that is willing to put up a fight.
“We have never played them since I’ve been here,” Viola said. “But they are a similar team to us. They only have two wins but they play a really strong schedule in the South and they have a lot of talented players. It should be a good game. “
The Greyhounds have a trio of high-scoring players in senior Kate McHarg, junior Maure Kenny and sophomore Colleen O’Keefe. McHarg, who leads the team with 32 goals and three assists, is someone the Red defense will be looking to shut down. Perhaps, one of this biggest difficulties Loyola has had with its young team is the lack of experience in net. Freshmen goalie Karen Nicolaus has played almost all of the 15 games the Greyhounds have played and she has earned a .394 save percentage. Even at the end of the season, the Red is still focused on its own game and is intent on ending this season in a positive way.
“The last game of every season is always kind of an all or nothing thing,” Viola said. “We are excited for one more competition. We’ve been working hard.”
For Viola and the other seniors, this contest will be the last game of collegiate lacrosse they ever play. After a season that has tested their patience, their determination and their team bond, the girls know they are leaving stronger as individuals and as a team than when they started. The seniors see this competition as their last chance to leave everything on the field and to leave everything they’ve gained over the last few years to their younger teammates.
“I was a captain last year, too, and we were really successful. But I’ve learned this season that it’s not all about the record,” Viola said. “Everything is better when you win but you do learn a lot when you are losing. You really have to reevaluate how you’re playing. I’ve learned that way more important than any game, win or lose, is the team. I’m not going to remember the record 10 years from now but I’ll definitely remember the girls. Cheesy, but true.”