Women’s lacrosse discuss a season of expectations

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Curtis Benton

Erin McGuire (#36) takes on a Davenport defender in their meeting on Feb. 16, 2020 at Hunter Stadium.

Billy Woods, Reporter

The story of this season can’t be explained without first mentioning last season, which was about sacrifice for the women’s lacrosse team.  

A sacrifice was made by six Lindenwood graduate students, some of which redshirted during their senior year and were strategically planning last season to be the year they brought it all together and delivered Lindenwood a national championship on its home field. Of those six graduate students, only Erin McGuire returned to play this season, where the Lions are nationally ranked number one. 

“In comparison to last year, I think there’s definitely a similar expectation,” McGuire said. 

Throughout last season, the Lions were consistently near the top of the national rankings, as they finished their season with a 9-1 record. Their last match was a 16-9 victory against Walsh University in Ohio. After that victory, the seniors were gathered on the field and were told by coach Jack Cribbin the news of their remaining season being canceled. 

“We sat there for a long time,” Ellie Faulk said. “There were a lot of tears. 

Both Faulk, who is now a senior, and McGuire expressed confidence about the Lions’ chances to win the national championship last season and the chance to defend the championship this season. 

“The thought that we had an opportunity to be standing on our own stadium in May with a trophy stung,” Faulk said. “It did feel like we had something taken from us.” 

After spending most of last season in the national spotlight, the Lions have an understanding of their own expectations as well as how fragile the moments around them can be. McGuire noticed the changes in the approach to this season after the performance of the Lions last season. 

“It took the team a bit to really realize how capable we were last year,” McGuire said, “and so I think we enter this season with a little more confidence in ourselves.”  

When the No. 1 Lions saw their rankingthey gave themselves a day to celebrate and bask in the glory of being ranked as the best team nationally. Once that day was over, the Lions put the ranking behind them and began to work towards the real goal: the national championship in May. 

“Preseason rankings didn’t matter at the end of last season and they won’t this season,” Faulk said. “We want a national championship at the end of May.” 

According to both McGuire and Faulk, the offseason proved difficult for the Lions, as different health and safety protocols restricted how often the team could be around each other. The Lions found new activities that aligned with health and safety protocols, such as kickball, pickleball, and other socially distanced activities.   

“As a program, the process of finding our groove this offseason was a slower one and required us all to adapt,” Faulk said, “but everyone found a way to make it work.” 

McGuire, who has dealt with her fair share of injuries prior to transferring to Lindenwood before last season, underwent hip surgery, which sidelined her for much of the offseason practices, workouts, and other team functions. She said the surgery was challenging but rewarding since she’s back on the field with her teammates. 

“It is an honor to be able to go to practice every day with these girls and coaching staff,” McGuire said. “I am so glad to get this extra year to compete as a Lion.” 

McGuire started the season strong, recording 10 points in the Lions’ 23-2 blowout win at Northern Michigan University, the third most in a single game in program history.  

The Lions will host the No. 14 ranked Regis University at Hunter Stadium on Feb. 27.