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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Jumbos ready for journey through tough conference

Junior midfielder Brigid Bowser looks to once again be an important part of the Jumbos' attack.

The women’s lacrosse team will open up its season this Saturday against Middlebury. The Jumbos have high hopes for the 2015 season after finishing with a 10-6 record overall and a 6-4 mark in the NESCAC last year.

The team returns key starters, including Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWCLA) Div. III All-American third-teamers Emily Wright and Brigid Bowser.Wright, a senior defender, was second in the NESCAC last year with 31 caused turnovers; she also recorded 36 ground balls and 46 controls on draws in the 2014 season. Meanwhile, junior midfielder Bowser recorded 59 draw controls and scored 43 points on 25 goals and 18 assists last year.

The two will return to the field for the 2015 season with other key upperclassmen starters, including senior Rachel Gallimore in goal, junior Caroline Ross and senior Kali Digate at attack, seniors Lindsey Walker and Laura Steinmetz at midfield and junior Jaymi Cohen on defense.

According to Ross, the first-years and sophomores on the team may compete for starting roles as well.

“The freshmen and sophomores will both play big roles on the team” she said. “Those two classes are really stepping up in the preseason.”

Ross joins Wright and DiGate as tri-captains for the 2015 season. As the leadership core on and off the field for the fall semester, they looked to prepare the team as much as possible in the off-season. With the support of coach Courtney Farrell, the team implemented higher fitness expectations as well as required mental training sessions. They have also incorporated in-season lifts that the players must find time to complete.

“All of [the training] was to get us ready for season. When Feb. 15 came, we had already worked out a lot of stuff and were ready to start,” said Wright. “We are starting at a much higher level than last year, so we are already a couple steps ahead, everyone has high energy and is ready to go.”

The team’s homework to read the mental training book "The Energy Bus" over Christmas break inspired its mottos for the 2015 season, “enjoy the bus” and “enjoy the ride.” Through email, Farrell summarized the goals for the season using this book as the backdrop.

“The team is looking to take this season day-by-day, minute-by-minute," she said. "Enjoy the ride along the way and make it last as long as possible together."

This is Farrell’s second year at the helm. Settling in after year one, she is ready to lead her team to a successful season. Expectations are high, and the players are ready to fulfill Farrell’s strategic vision to make this year’s team the best in program history.

“We want to have an edge defensively, set ourselves apart and take pride on the defensive end of the field," Farrell told the Daily in an email. "We want to take pride in the middle of the field, on the ride and be fast and smart in transition. Offensively, we want to tighten up our shooting and look to make all seven athletes on the field a threat at all times."

In the win-loss column, it will be important for them to do well in their NESCAC league games. Specifically, Tufts will need to beat Bates, Colby and Bowdoin for a spot in the conference playoffs and a shot at an NCAA tournament bid. However, a win in the NESCAC is no easy feat. The league is largely considered one of the strongest in the country, with seven NESCAC schools ranked in the top 20 nationally by the IWCLA. Tufts sits at No. 14, under Trinity (2), Middlebury (3), Amherst (5), Colby (9) and Williams (11) and just above Bowdoin (15).

Wright acknowledges the pressure of being ranked in the top 20 nationally and playing in such a competitive league.

“There is definitely more pressure on each game. We have to show up to play. It is a good kind of pressure, because every time we have to try our hardest which makes us better,” she said.

The talent of the Tufts team should not be overlooked, especially considering the competitiveness of the NESCAC conference. Opening up this weekend against Middlebury will be a good test of the team’s strengths and weaknesses. A NESCAC win on the weekend would be a great start to the season and a testament to the hard work the team has put in during the offseason.