Despite losing to TCNJ in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) final last year, Rowan University lacrosse is feeling confident about this season.
“We expect to do the same we did last year and better,” head coach Lindsay Delaney said. “Our expectation is to win the conference championships. We should [make the finals], we were performing strong in all areas and as long as we’re healthy and consistent, then yes, we should be back in the finals.”
As the Profs prepare for their season and home opener against Ursinus College on Wednesday, there’s one big difference compared to last year.
Senior Emma Frost will get her first go as starting goalie after watching behind now-graduated Erin Horner for three years. Frost is 2-2 in her career with 47 goals allowed in 15 appearances.
“I definitely worked out harder than I have in years past,” Frost said. “I played a lot of wall ball and watched Erin Horner on film to look at things that she had done while [figuring out] what I could bring to this season. It was a lot of fun [learning under Horner].”
Guidance from Horner won’t be hard to come by, though, as she is serving as a student assistant coach for the team.
“We are really good friends and we had a good relationship, so it’s cool to have her as a coach now,” Frost said. “I definitely learned a lot under her and am still learning from her. I have big shoes to fill but I wouldn’t say it’s pressure. It’s more of like a positive motivator to live up to what Erin did.”
Frost was able to get plenty of minutes in while filling in for Horner when she was injured. Delaney said that Frost “understands the competitive side and the speed of the game,” while praising her communication skills, consistency and leadership.
Senior and first-time captain Liz Kramer knows the deal going into the season. A NJAC All-Conference and IWLCA Boardwalk All-Region first team member last year, Kramer led the team in assists, ground balls and caused turnovers. She was second in points and third in goals and draw controls.
“I feel like your goal every season is to win,” Kramer said. “I think this year we really have a special chance and a good shot at trying to win the NJAC and, even further, go towards NCAAs with the talent that we have on the team.”
Kramer has started in every contest the past two seasons after transferring from The University of Tampa.
Senior captains Maddie Bray and Taylor Gretz return. Bray led the Profs and the NJAC in goals and had four game-winners last season. Gretz led the team in draw controls and was third in the conference in the category. Both were named to NJAC All-Conference and IWLCA Boardwalk All-Region first teams.
Defensively, the Brown and Gold have a spot to fill after full-time starter McKayla Earley graduated. Last year, Rowan ranked third in the NJAC in caused turnovers per game and goals allowed per game.
“We’re focusing on the defensive unit being in the next step,” Delaney said. “Being prepared, taking away the 1-v-1 or the initial feed. But when that breaks down, what’s next? I think a lot of times last year, we got caught up with taking the first option of the attacking unit away but not being able to re-defend the second option. That’s our main goal, to defend the second option while maintaining the first option as we did nicely last year.”
For a team that has 12 upperclassmen and 19 underclassmen, they’ve made it a priority to get morale and team chemistry to a peak in order to bring out the best of the team.
“A lot of us, together, went on runs together and we had this thing called ‘breakfast club,’” Kramer said. “We would wake up at odd hours like 6 a.m. before 8 a.m. and we’d all go for runs, sprinting long distance, any kind of run you can think of. It kind of helps when you’re doing it as a team rather than just individually. No one wants to wake up at 6 a.m., but the fact that our team decided to wake up at 6 a.m. says a lot about their character.”
Rowan will start the season off on Wednesday against Ursinus College on the Coach Richard Wackar Stadium turf at 4 p.m.
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