By Lauren Anikis.
Coaches and players from all spring sports gathered at the Xfinity Center on Monday to talk about their upcoming seasons. Here’s what each team had to say as they prepare to kick off the 2017 season:
As the team looks to the spring season, players aren’t focused on an end goal. Rather, they’re working to make small progress each day. While seasons usually start with a few hiccups, the men’s lacrosse team needs to work on the small details. Senior Isaiah Davis-Allen knows that working on stick work and footwork are the kinds of things that win games. Individually, Davis-Allen wants to improve his leadership skills to help each individual on the team be the best that they can.
“My goal is just to win . . . I wanna [sic] win for my team,” he said.
Women’s lacrosse is confident going into the spring season. The team lost some talent last year, which will be felt because of who those players were both on and off the field. But the team also has a solid group of returns and is looking forward to what the season will bring. Senior midfielder Zoe Stukenberg feels that she is lucky to be a part of this program.
As the team enters their spring season, they face a challenging schedule. They have been working on recruiting and now have depth in the pitching staff, but also need to make sure those pitchers can get playing time and have quality innings. They are hoping to do well in conference play and make it deep into the postseason. Head Coach John Szefc believes they have a good enough team to do so and the players simply need to “do what they do and live up to the preparation they’ve put in.”
Senior catcher Kristina Dillard is excited to get started with the season, calling it “Christmas . . . just the most wonderful time of the year.” There are a lot of strong returners, but the team is also looking forward to seeing what their new underclassmen have to offer. They are taking it week by week and just looking to grow. They are hoping to make it to postseason which Dillard believes is “definitely doable.” And she personally is hoping to continue being as big a help to her team as possible, because her personal goals can only be met with the team as a whole.
Track and field
After a solid indoor season, the track team is looking to continue in the same direction, specifically rising in the Big Ten and having the kids continue to grow. Coach Andrew Valmon is excited to have a male athlete who he describes as a “male version of Micha [Powell]” who can compete on another level.
The biggest challenge the team faces this season is staying healthy. Senior Dahri Jahn-Richardson is most excited about competing in the 4×400 meter relay and his ability to grow in this event under Coach Valmon who currently holds the world record in the 4×400. Coach Valmon has put pressure on the team and wants to come into the Big Ten with a splash right off the bat.
After a good overall fall season, with a few stumbles at the end, the team is hoping to get off to a solid start in 2017. The team has a great spring schedule and head coach Jason Rodenhaver has the best team he has had in his six years here. Junior David Kocher is hoping to be an All Big Ten once again and wants to make the All American team this year. He hopes the team makes regionals and hopefully nationals, but just wants players to play as well as they can and win a few tournaments.
With golf being both a fall and spring sport, the women’s team has their toughest season ahead of them. They face conference play with the goal of making it to the postseason. In Diana Cantu’s third year as head coach, the team has moved from 131st to 64th in the nation. Sophomore Ludovica Farina is excited for the season with her new team, saying that the freshmen bring something special and allow new bonds to form. The team is hoping to make it to regionals this year.