Gonzaga’s women’s club lacrosse team made a splash last year by winning a regional season championship and receiving a bid to nationals in only its first year in a new league. This year, they are looking to make some significant changes with hopes of going even further.
The club’s co-presidents, junior Avery Edwards and senior Caroline Boitano, were both crucial parts of last year’s undefeated season and are excited about the growth of the club going forward. Last year's team went 11-0 in their first year after dropping down to Division II.
“This whole freshman class has really surprised us, size-wise, but also skill-wise,” Edwards said. “In the past we have had half-and-half a lot of beginners and a lot of people who have played before, but now it is pretty much all people who have played in high school at some point.”
The team expects this new talent to change the way practices are run and how it can prepare for strong competition throughout the season. The presidents said they plan to have more structured practices by dedicating days to specific aspects that need work so that they can focus more on each independently.
“We have really made a point of touching base and figuring out what it is we want to go over that day and being more intentional with our interactions with our coach,” Edwards said.
In using practice time more efficiently to work through the technical aspects of lacrosse, the team also plans to address a challenge it previously faced — team chemistry. The team’s newfound depth, primarily thanks to 10 new freshman players, creates a range of ages the club has not had in years previous.
“We’re learning to have everyone play together, because bringing in such a large group of new freshmen it can be hard to get everyone to mesh,” Boitano said.
But the leaders said they are excited to face this challenge head-on. One of the ways they intend to keep improving in the fall is by scheduling out-of-season scrimmages and tournaments that will give the teammates great in-game experience with one another. By frequently putting new players together in fast-paced, game-time situations, they expect to see a growth in chemistry throughout their roster.
A deeper bench and a better idea of what to expect from this year’s competition leaves the team feeling like they are in a much better spot compared to last season.
“Last year, we didn’t even know we’d make it that far,” Edwards said, referring to their undefeated season.
Boitano and Edwards, who both played since their first years at GU, pointed to lacrosse as an essential part of their experience at the school.
“I knew I wanted to play club lacrosse the minute I committed to be a Zag,” Edwards said. “I wanted to have a team to be a part of and have an outlet for staying fit and keeping my skills up. I wasn’t ready to be done with my lacrosse career, and my favorite thing about it is the team aspect, having a group of people to forget about school for a bit and just have fun.”
But the competitive outlet has not been the only benefit for the team — the players said a strong sense of community and connection essential to the experience is just as prevalent.
“The club lacrosse team is an extension of the Gonzaga community,” Boitano said. “People from across all different grade levels play. I would know people from my grade level if I didn’t play, but I might never have met people from other grades if I hadn’t played lacrosse.”