After a rocky season of nine losses and seven wins, the women’s lacrosse team tries to stay positive. But, sophomore goalie Preetha Raj said, there were certain weeks the team’s losses tested players’ resolve, like when the Panthers won 13-11 against the University of Redlands Bulldogs April 20 before losing 11-20 to the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens April 24. The Panthers’ season ended when they lost 18-6 against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps May 1.
Sophomore attacker Alexandra Callaway said even the Panthers’ victorious game April 20 wasn’t an entirely positive occasion, because freshman midfielder Vanessa Topete suffered a serious concussion mid-game.
“When I caught the ball, I turned around and a lot of sticks hit me on my right temple area,” Topete said.
Topete, an undeclared major, said she feels lucky her concussion happened toward the end of the season. But she wasn’t the only player to suffer a head injury this season. Senior captain and midfielder Lucy Schwartz suffered a concussion two days before, when colliding with a teammate during practice.
“I wasn’t cleared in time to play another game this season,” Schwartz said. “It’s been a bummer, but I got to see my team take a great win over Redlands.”
Leah Donnelly, a junior attacker and psychology major, said having both Topete and Schwartz out of commission was tough.
“Others realized they needed to step up and fill their shoes,” Donnelly said.
With a few players sidelined, the Panthers went into their April 24 game against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens feeling like the “underdogs,” said senior defense player Shelby Thompson. Raj said the team was prepared to fight, but the game got away from them when the Sagehens pulled off a long run of scores.
That week was a rollercoaster full of ups and downs, but that’s not unusual for the Panthers, Callaway said. Throughout the season, beginning in February, the Panthers have seen almost alternating wins and losses. Senior midfielder and psychology major Danielle Zahn said a reason for this inconsistency could be the team’s varied energy levels.
“If even one person isn’t ‘feeling it’ and the team can sense it, then we all are affected by it,” Zahn said.
After a loss, Raj said she likes to look back and analyze the games, so she can pinpoint mistakes.
“If we have a loss, I always go back to the drawing board,” she said.
Zahn said the tough season has taught the team valuable lessons about resilience and hard work.
“Those who pick themselves up, dust themselves off, are open to learning and open to facing the situation in order to get better are those who go far in sports and in life,” Zahn said. “It’s all about taking what comes your way and turning it into something positive.”