Oct. 30, 2012
As the women's lacrosse teams enters the "quiet" period of fall training (working eight hours a week with two of those hours being lacrosse-oriented), head coach Julie Myers reflected on what she has seen from the team during their scrimmages and early training.
Coach Myers on...
General Impressions of the Fall Training
"We have new leaders. We graduated Julie Gardner who was a four-year starter and Josie Owen who was a terrific attacker, along with a couple of other kids. I think they set the tone for so many years that the kids on our team right now never really had to do anything but follow their lead. Now I see our fourth-years really excited to be the leaders, to set the tone and to set the pace. And they've really thrived in that role. They've stepped up and their confidence has gone up. They've done a really nice job as a fourth year class."
"I've particularly seen that from our two elected captains, Caroline McTiernan and Megan Dunleavy. Caroline, who plays attack, probably had the best fall she's ever had. She just went hard to goal. She was able to help the younger kids know what they're doing and she could direct a little bit, calmed kids down a little bit, which was great to see Caroline be able to do. Megan is a three-year starter for us on the defensive end. She's always kind of been our vocal person in the back as well. I feel like they just seem older, more mature, more experienced and ready to try to have a great season."
"I would say that the first year class as a whole gives us a lot to work with and they grew a lot over the course of the six weeks. We did bring in three transfers over the summer and they're all in the second-year class. Caroline Seats came from Georgetown, Sally Jentis from Florida, and Casey Bocklet from Northwestern. I think those kids were great to add into our mix. They brought a little more intensity, a little more competition, and they brought a different experience. They had already been in college, they had already played a season, but they were new to our team. It was really exciting to see what they were able to bring and contribute and how they were able to really elevate their game and they were elevating everyone else's."
"Caroline Seats was really good friends with a bunch of the kids in the second year class. They had played club ball together, she had gone to high school with some of them, so I feel like she's been here for her entire life. Sally from Florida, comes from New Jersey didn't really know that many kids on the team, but she did a great job. She brought some toughness, some grit, some speed and she's tenacious. She was able to add in the midfield. Casey comes from Northwestern and there is nothing she can't do. She understands the game of lacrosse as well as anyone we've ever coached. I think we could tell her to do it standing on her head and she'd figure out a way to do it. She really brought some great balance to everything."
On the Goalkeepers
"Our two goalkeepers, Kim Kolarik and Liz Colgan, are completely different. They are a third and a fourth year which is the hard part. There is typically a little more separation in grade. Kim is technically sound. She is consistent. She steps up under pressure. She loves being shot on. A lot of goalies would rather see just five shots and have to make just a few saves. But Kim doesn't mind if she gets shelled and she just does her best, she just keeps battling. She plays each ball and she does a get job. She has the advantage of experience. The team knows that she's good and that she'll step up."
"Liz is incredibly fast and quick but technically, its different. She's not as technically sound as Kim, so she's not as consistent as Kim, but Liz certainly has an upside, too."
On Building Depth
"We understand that the Fall is some people's shining moment. This is their season. Everyone is able to play, everyone contributes, and everyone gets better because playing gets you better. I think there was one day where we scrimmaged where it was a little less than 50/50 in terms of the minutes across the board for everyone. I think we did do a good job adding some depth. I think the kids that were healthy gave us their all. It is going to be something important down the stretch."
Battles for Playing Time
"We will start four attackers and there are about six kids that have separated themselves from five others in terms of being a true attacker. We could end up with any combination of the six. There are probably three middies that have separated themselves from the other six. Defense is going to be a tight race too. There are not as many true defenders on our team. Our core four that played last year are awesome and they got some good experience, but there are some new younger players that could really get in that mix. I would say there is five or six fighting for those four spots in defense. I think it is healthy competition. Its good numbers were working with. It is not overwhelming and certainly some separation has already begun to happen."
Things to Focus On in the Spring
"After watching the team this fall, I am excited for the spring. We also have seen what we need to work on. We need to be even more aggressive all over the field. We need to be more comfortable taking some chances. In the games that we've just played and flowed and didn't worry about what was coming next, I think we did a really good job with. When things get tight we start to second-guess a little bit. I'd love for us to get to the point where we've just done it so many times and done it fast and hard and successfully that we don't even worry about `what if's'. I would love to keep our confidence growing, keep our experience base growing."
"I think we have a chance to do that over the next few weeks and really in that preseason. They know they're attention has to be sharp because we open our season in February. Our first three games are all against ranked opponents - two of them are probably in the top five. So I think that they know they have to be ready, they know they have to be confident, they know the harder the work we put in now the better we'll feel down the road."
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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