(La)crossing their fingers – Albion women struggle to field a team

With four 1.5-hour practices and two 2-hour practices per week, the team members of the varsity women’s lacrosse team practice hard — just ask Allison Oatley, Ann Arbor senior and lacrosse team co-captain.

“You schedule and study around (the practices),” Oatley said. “I’ve played a varsity sport every year that I’ve been (at Albion), and I think it’s a good way to time manage and balance out your life. You get the break and get some exercise and it’s fun.”

But in the team’s first year as a varsity sport, the level of commitment required by the team’s new status has made it difficult to recruit the hoped for number of players, according to Teddy Eisenhut, Brighton senior and co-captain.

 “Ideally, it would be beneficial to have eight to 10 more girls to have a solid team,” Eisenhut said. “However, realistically two to three more girls would be enough to make good line rotation. There are eight returning players and six new players.”

 Currently, the team has 14 members in all, enough players to field a team — 12 players are on the field during the tournament.

“With such a small squad, it’s a fear that we could run into injuries that could prevent us from playing with a full roster,” Oatley said.”We’re not really doing anything out of the ordinary to prevent them. We have at least four girls coming back from fairly serious injuries.”

According to Jaclyn Rutkowski, head coach, the number of players recruited will not have any financial implications for the team, although funding is allotted on a per-player basis.

 “The school has put a trust into the program, knowing that within the first couple years we will not be the full-fledged dominating competitors we hope to be, but with the realization that we need building years and that we have the potential to (become competitors),” Rutkowski said.

 By spreading the word about the team’s new varsity status, Rutkowski hopes to recruit 12 new players for the 2011 season.

 “The most important thing that’s being done in the recruitment of next year’s class is advertisement and showcasing that Albion has made the transition from club to varsity,” Rutkowski said. 

For its first varsity season, the team’s goal is to play as hard as it can, no matter what the results, according to Oatley.

 “Being the first team, we just want to play well together and show the school that we are meant to be here,” Oatley said.  “(We just want) to prove ourselves.  We can do it and build from the bottom on up.”

 The team will play in 12 tournaments over the course of its first varsity season; the first tournament is scheduled for March 6-7 at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky.

1 Comment

  1. This is one of the reasons why lacrosse should not have become a varsity sport this year. For this current year, the existing sports budgets have been cut, some more drastically than others and the college was in no position to add another sport. The mens team practices 5:30-7:30 every day, which somehow they managed to pull rank over baseball who is forced to practice at the crack of dawn most days because of this addition. Until the College has the facilities to allow for reasonable practice times for all sports, and the sports that are trying to become varsity can have adequate numbers, the sport should not be added making other teams (whose sports actually exist in the MIAA) suffer.

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