Women’s lacrosse looks to compete well in regular season

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Running past Oak Park River Forest defenders, Lindsey Karsh, junior midfield and attack (left) tries to keep cradling the ball while moving down the field during a game on April 14. The Titans beat Oak Park River Forest BY a score of 16-6.

Ashley Clark

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Running past Oak Park River Forest defenders, Lindsey Karsh, junior midfield and attack (left) tries to keep cradling the ball while moving down the field during a game on April 14. The Titans beat Oak Park River Forest BY a score of 16-6.

Samantha Casey, co-sports editor

After losing numerous seniors in 2015, the women’s lacrosse team looks to play to their best ability in every game rather than focusing on their post-season placement, according to Head Coach Annie Lesch.

According to Lesch, the Titan’s best game was against New Trier who is ranked second in State. Despite losing 14-15, the Titans came back from deficits throughout the game. Lesch attributes the loss to the competitive and confident mindset the team had going into the game due to their desire to beat rival New Trier.

“We were down by five [goals] at one point, [then we caught up] and we were down by six at a whole different point,” Lesch said. “[Then] we had caught up [again] and they went up by six again and we came back. It was a really exciting game.”

Senior Captain Sarah McDonagh agrees that the New Trier game has been the team’s best performance so far this season. Not only was it their best playing, it was the “Connquer” game in honor of Connie Hoekstra, a 2015 GBS graduate who is recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. During the game, the whole team wore purple uniforms with “Connquer” written on the back, according to McDonagh.

“To be able to put that uniform on for her and have ‘Connquer’ written on our backs, as a whole made the game 10 times more special,” McDonagh said. “The fact that we could play that hard for her against New Trier [where] they could have blown us out as they have done in the past, [was amazing]. We just stuck through it and worked really, really hard, and knowing that she was there cheering us on was really special.”

According to Lesch, a setback this season was the Titans’ one-point loss to Maine South on April 12. It was the first time the Titans have lost to Maine South in program history. Lesch attributes the loss to the lack of mental preparation before the game.

“We took [Maine South] lightly and let them play with us right from the very first whistle, so that gave Maine South some momentum and confidence,” Lesch said. “We did pull away at the beginning of the first half; we were leading 7-4 and then again we took them lightly in the second half and they were able to hang with us. Then, it became a game of the clock and possessions and we kind of choked in that situation.”

Despite the loss against Maine South, the Titans came back and beat Oak Park River Forest (16-6) on April 14. According to McDonagh, the team bounced back and played with the same intensity against Oak Park River Forest as they did against New Trier.

“I think if we continue [to play at that] level of intensity, the team will do really well for the rest of the season,” McDonagh said.

However, McDonagh says that the team has learned from the Maine South game that they are beatable and they can not play regular season games with less intensity.

“[Now we] know that we are beatable and [that] we can’t glide through [the] regular season,” McDonagh said. “[Also knowing that] we are not going to kill every team [means] we really have to work for what we want and we know that now, so now we have to keep that level of intensity up and carry it throughout the season.”

McDonagh believes that because the team has graduated a lot of players other “teams have put targets on [their] backs” as the team that they want to beat. Lesch says that last year’s team was filled with talented lacrosse players, but this year’s team is very athletic and determined; Senior Captain Michaela Skweres agrees with Lesch.

“We lost a lot of great players last year, but we replaced them with very athletic players that have been improving a lot with each practice,” Skweres said.

According to Lesch, some of the key players include Senior Captains McDonagh, Skweres, Perri Stewart and Macy McPhilliamy. Other key players include Senior Defenders Mary Langas and Ali O’Hara, and juniors Lindsey Karsh and Sophie Hensley. In addition to the key players, there are five freshman on varsity and three of the five start, according to Lesch.

Lesch, Skweres and McDonagh look forward to their game against fourth place Hinsdale Central on April 22. Since Hinsdale Central lost to New Trier by three points, McDonagh believes that the Titans can beat them if they go into the game with a competitive and positive mindset.

“[Maine South] was a good reminder that not everything this year [will] be handed to us and that not every team is going to be a team that we can beat by 10 or 15 [points],” McDonagh said. “In our game against Oak Park River Forest we were connecting our passes and we were playing the same way we were playing against New Trier, so our intensity was at the same level. If we continue to carry this level of intensity to Hinsdale we can really make an impact.”