By ANDREW JOHNSON
This past weekend, the Hopkins women’s lacrosse team participated in two scrimmages, providing the team with a substantial opportunity to hone their formations and prepare for the spring slate when the competition really becomes critical.
On Oct. 16, the Jays traveled south to Annapolis to take on the Navy Midshipmen. The team got to enjoy some friendly competition against one of their primary in-state rivals while spending a day in the beautiful state capital of Maryland.
Much of the fall slate is about building chemistry and developing friendships, especially for those newly-arrived to campus. A united, close-knit group will perform better and be willing to sacrifice themselves for their teammates when a game or even a championship, is on the line.
Sophomore attacker Loring Gearhardt described the trip down to Annapolis, telling The News-Letter about this wonderful team-building experience during the lead up to the game.
“The game against Navy was a great experience as a whole,” Gearhardt said. “Our team had lunch in Annapolis and walked around the bay. Navy is a beautiful school, and it was surreal playing on the water with all the sailboats.”
In terms of the game itself, Hopkins got off to an explosive start utilizing precise passing and excellent stickwork in building an early lead against the Midshipmen.
“We started out very strong connecting all the dots — our stickwork was great and we created a big lead,” Gearhardt said.
While Navy was able to rally in the second half, the Jays were ultimately able to hold on for the victory against a talented Patriot League foe.
While the game is not an official part of the Lady Jays’ slate, it was still an important victory to build confidence heading into winter training.
“In the second half we struggled with the draw and struggled getting possession and only ended up winning by two, 10-8,” Gearhardt said. “However, I’m proud by how much we fought to close out the win despite an aggressive push by them at the end.”
The following afternoon at 4 p.m. the Jays squared off against returning Blue Jay greats in the annual alumni game at Homewood Field. The contest is a competitive but kind-spirited one as life-long friends and past teammates try to out hustle each other on the field. Many players on the team look forward to the game every season as a great way to end the fall slate.
“Our alumni game was fun and really for the love of the game,” Gearhardt said. “We got after each other but really just played with a ton of joy. It was definitely a great way to finish fall ball.”
With the fall ball slate soon concluding for the Jays, it is now time for the team to turn their attention to winter training and the upcoming spring 2016 campaign. When asked to comment about goals and expectations for the spring, sophomore defenseman Emily Verica said that the team is striving to once again qualify for the NCAA tournament, with their eyes on a national championship.
“Obviously this spring, we’re looking to take advantage of our last year having an independent schedule and get back to the NCAA tournament,” Verica said. “This year we want to go further than last year and make it to the Final Four and then of course win the championship.”
The first year of college lacrosse is often a period of great adjustment for athletes since they must adapt to the faster pace and higher skill level of the college game. Therefore, many Jays have made big performance jumps in their sophomore campaigns, having spent a full year in the system and having gained a better understanding of its intricacies.
“Personally I’m looking to grow as a defensive player to help the team go further into playoffs in the upcoming season,” Verica said.
In what has been a fruitful fall slate, the Jays will now turn their attention to the spring with hopes for another excellent season against the tough D-I competition.