By Louis Galdos
Elm Staff Writer
The Shorewomen opened the season with two wins against two quality teams. The games were played on Wednesday, Feb. 28 and Saturday March 3.
On Wednesday, the Shorewomen officially opened the season at the U.S. National Women’s Lacrosse Team’s Facility in Sparks vs. non-conference opponent Albright College. Overall, the game was evenly played until the Shorewomen pulled away on a lead near the end of the fourth quarter.
A highlight was junior goalie Isabella Richardson as recording 16 saves in her first ever start as the goalie for the Shorewomen. Richardson recorded 10 saves in Saturday’s game.
“It felt very good to have 16 saves in my first collegiate start. I was very proud of the way I played and can attribute my success to the time spent with the strength and conditioning staff here at school,” she said.
Richardson thanked her coaches from home and the goalie coaches at WC for helping her reach this point in her athletic career.
“It truly was a combination of all of those people that gave me different tools that I used to be successful in Wednesday’s game,” Richardson said.
Head Coach Heidi Pearce praised Richardson’s goaltending.
“Izzy had a fantastic start on Wednesday night and came up with some huge saves for our team. In the second half, we were 10-11 in clears also so she set us up in a good position to get the ball to our attacking end as well. I am so proud of her and all the hard work she has been putting in,” she said.
Assistant Coach Maddie Mullen had nothing but positive words about Richardson’s performance.
“Isabella has put in so much hard work to prepare for the 2018 season. Her love of the game and determination are qualities to be admired and have helped her develop into a great goalie. I could not be prouder of Izzy and I can’t wait to see her do many more great things throughout the season and her lacrosse career,” she said.
For the Shorewomen the key to the victory was picking up the pace and intensity of play while putting themselves in positions to score.
“The hustle from the girls was off the charts in Wednesday’s game. Albright’s style of play is something the team hasn’t faced a lot. However, the team was able to adjust and attack to come out on top,” Mullen said.
Pearce said she thought the team played well, putting them in “good spots offensively and defensively.” She said their goals were to “win ground balls, draw controls, and number shots.” She said they were able to do two of the three, and need to work on face-offs in practice before their next competition.
On Saturday, the Shorewomen played Lynchburg College at home. Lynchburg had a 7-4 lead at the end of the first half and then in the second half the Shorewomen turned on the jets and dominated Lynchburg 6-1.
“We just needed to play our game. We accomplished a lot against Lynchburg by doing this,” Mullen said.
The strategy was for everyone to focus on their position, keep the intensity up from Wednesday’s game, and adjust play went on.
“Going into the Lynchburg game, we wanted to keep the intensity throughout our warm up and into the game. One thing that really pumps me up is our team dancing in the locker room before we head out to the field,” junior Kristy Grovom said.
“For Saturday’s game, we were looking to continue the aggressiveness but working on composing ourselves and making the small adjustments to come out on top,” senior Autumn Spence said.
Pearce said she hoped to “capitalize on their shooting percentage” and limit fouls on both sides of the field.
The players have positive expectations for the rest of this season, according to Grovom.
“The team dynamic is so strong this year that I have nothing but great expectations for us throughout the season. Our offense and defense have been working hard to perfect our plays before our first game. As far as my personal goals go, I would like to win more faceoffs and have more assists throughout the season,” she said.
“As a result of all the hard work we all put in the off-season things went well for our first two games,” Richardson said. “No one gave up [in either game]. The chemistry on this team is as good as I have seen it in my three years at WC, and when you combine raw talent and positive chemistry great things can happen for a team,” Richardson said.
The Shorewomen play their next game on Saturday, March 10 vs. No. 5 Salisbury at 1 p.m. The game will be played at home.