By SHANE COUGHLIN
Senior Staff Writer
The fifth annual “Stick it to Sarcoma” tournament was hosted at Homewood Field this Sunday, bringing six women’s lacrosse teams together to compete in order to raise money for Sarcoma research.
The organization was founded by Rachel Ballatori, a Hopkins graduate who lost her father to the disease, and has raised over $60,000 in his name through this tournament.
Among the participating teams were University of Louisville, Towson University, Lehigh University, Rutgers University and Team STX (a group of graduates from varied D-I schools).
“This weekend we demonstrated how the lacrosse community can really come together,” Hopkins head coach Janine Tucker said. “We had a great lineup of teams to play and were thrilled with the participation that resulted in over $7,000 in donations to help battle sarcoma.”
Fall tournaments like “Stick it to Sarcoma” are pivotal offseason tests for the upcoming season and for assimilating new players into college level lacrosse.
The Jays maintain many key members of last year’s squad but welcomed seven incoming freshmen.
“One of the best things about these fall tournaments is throwing every girl out there for experience and allowing them to make mistakes,” Tucker said.
“We got to play three different teams with different styles and skill levels, which is exposure for us, especially the freshmen who get faced teams at the D-I level for the first time,” senior midfielder Kristen Cannon said. “The coaches are able to see which combination of players work well together. We want every player on our team to contribute to our success, regardless what year they are.”
“We kept good energy all day and everyone played really selflessly,” sophomore attack Emily Kenul said. “We’re on a great track so far, and the upperclassmen are doing a really great job leading and the freshmen who are already making an impact.”
Although no score was kept, the Jays played three tough games against Team STX, Louisville and Lehigh. The first matchup of the day brought Team STX to the field against Hopkins. Among them were several recent alumni who were all extremely disciplined on both sides of the field.
“Our first game against Team STX was my favorite with our girls staying exceptionally poised and athletic against a tough team that included several former Blue Jays,” Tucker said.
Next, Louisville brought an intense and aggressive defensive style to the field, making for an extremely active and entertaining contest.
“This was a fun game to watch with Louisville applying pressure and forcing us to keep our feet moving,” Tucker said. “It was a great experience, making constant adjustments and watching how the team reacted under pressure.”
Next up for Hopkins is another fall game against the Tar Heels from the University of North Carolina this Saturday at 3 p.m.
“We did a lot of amazing things this weekend, but there is also a lot of things we need to work on in preparation for UNC,” senior captain Dene DiMartino said. “We are really pushing the tempo on offense and getting after it on defense, so the rest of this fall should be really successful for us.”
The Blue Jays are preseason ranked No. 17 in the country, which puts a lot of pressure on themselves and their coaches to prove to everyone that they are as good as their ranking portrays them to be.
Coaching can be one of the hardest and yet underrated positions in sports. According to Tucker, her job is made easier thanks to the team’s extraordinarily high chemistry.
“What I love most about what I’ve seen this fall is the chemistry of this team,” Tucker said. “Our girls are so unselfish and are all about taking care of each other. As a coach I could not ask for anything more. That kind of chemistry and camaraderie along with our speed and athleticism can take us really far this spring.”