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Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Women’s lacrosse search for redemption with a veteran squad

From+left%2C+senior+defender+Maggie+Mandel+and+senior+goalkeeper+Lexi+Held+are+aiming+to+get+a+spot+in+the+NCAA+tournament+and+are+preparing+for+a+rematch+in+the+Liberty+League+Championships.
Maddy Tanzman
From left, senior defender Maggie Mandel and senior goalkeeper Lexi Held are aiming to get a spot in the NCAA tournament and are preparing for a rematch in the Liberty League Championships.

The Ithaca College women’s lacrosse team has been vigorously preparing for their upcoming season and are ready to take another swing at the No. 3 William Smith College Herons, the defending Liberty League Champions that knocked them off a year ago.

This year, the NCAA has granted eight extra practices to all spring sports outside of preseason competition. Head coach Karrie Moore said she took that to her advantage and started getting her athletes ready as soon as they returned to South Hill.

In addition to added practice, Moore said that getting her athletes in shape and in the rhythm of the season has been a top priority. 

“Conditioning is important to our game and especially important in the style of lacrosse we like to play,” Moore said. “The team worked really hard over the fall and also winter break to make sure they were physically prepared for the season.” 

Not only is Moore preparing the team for the taxing season on their bodies, but she is preparing them in all phases of the game. With a strong senior class, senior goalkeeper Lexi Held said this all-around emphasis will help the team reach its potential. 

“My teammates and I have worked extremely hard on and off the field to prepare for this season,” Held said. “Not only are we physically preparing, but also mentally and working hard behind the scenes to ensure our team meets our goals.”

One of the team’s biggest goals this season is making it back to the NCAA tournament: a milestone they have not reached since the 2022 season. Not only does the team have their goals, but individually, each player has expectations and goals for themselves. 

As her last season as a Bomber is approaching, Held said she just wants to focus on her performance and let that make an impact.

“My main goal for my last season is to work hard and just have fun,” Held said. “While I could say I want to save ‘X’ amount of shots or have a certain save percentage, I have found that if I work hard and enjoy the moment, I will be proud of myself. Being a goalie is a very mental position, so setting realistic and intangible goals for myself has allowed me to find individual and team success.” 

Moore said that the senior class is leading the team in more ways than one and are building team chemistry so that the team can see success on the field. 

“The senior class had done a ton of work to really come together and lead this team together,” Moore said. “They’ve spent a lot of time together to not just be better friends, but to really become better teammates for each other. I think that’s really going to play out in our chemistry on and off the field.”

With a high-spirited senior class comes one of this year’s captains, defender Maggie Mandel. Mandel has been an essential part of the Bombers’ defense, starting every game the past two seasons, and has been a valuable player since her first year here.

Mandel said she would like to bind together the defensive unit this season and then let the skill of each player do the rest of the work.  

“Mainly I would like to build the confidence of the defensive unit so we can really focus on using our athleticism to grind down other attacking teams and stay on top,” Mandel said. “We are such a close-knit unit that works incredibly well together so I am hoping we use this culture to limit the shots taken on goal.” 

The other captains standing by Mandel this season will be senior midfielders Sydney Phillips and Caroline Wise. Mandel emphasized the importance of the defensive side and how that is something they want to come back at opponents with: A strong, tough defense that will not let the ball get past them too quickly. 

One thing about the season that stands out is how the Bombers have an older team than usual — rostering 12 underclassmen and 15 upperclassmen — and are returning their entire starting side. Mandel said this familiarity will give the Bombers an advantage. 

“We are lucky enough to be returning with almost a full starting line-up, which makes a huge impact on our presence on the field,” Mandel said. “Our girls have such a good IQ together and it has given us an opportunity to really know our personnel and use each person’s strengths to grow as a unit.”

Held said the team has set themselves up to achieve their goals and have their eye on the prize, which is a Liberty League title and a spot in the National Championship.

“These smaller goals such as improving stick skills or working on game IQ, all lead up to our main goal which is winning a Liberty League Championship,” Held said. “We are very confident in achieving this goal and also plan to set ourselves up well for the post-season by winning our regular season games.”

The Bombers have started their season 1–0 with a 13–9 win over the University of Scranton on Feb. 25 and will travel to Brockport, New York for a match against SUNY Brockport at 2 p.m. March 2.

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Maddy Tanzman
Maddy Tanzman, Photo Editor
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