The Women’s Lacrosse Club takes to the field this Saturday as USF hosts rival UCF at Sycamore Fields in their first and only home game of the fall season. The match is in preparation for the highly anticipated 2016-17 season of the Southeastern Women’s Lacrosse League (SWLL) coming this spring.
“The skill level is a lot higher than last year,” said Ande Radunz, a sophomore health sciences major and the president of the Women’s Lacrosse Club. “We have a lot of new players.”
Radunz—going into her second year on the team as a defensive player—is looking to lead the club to victory against a UCF team that topped the SWLL South Division with a winning percentage of 0.75 percent last year.
“We’re confident but not overly confident,” Radunz said. “In the second game we played UCF last year, the first half was neck and neck.”
Although USF went on to lose the game in their second defeat suffered at the hands of UCF last season, the new and improved team roster hopes to take the club to new heights this season.
“We have good basic skills; we need to build on that,” Radunz said.
One of the newest faces on the team is freshman Evelyn Kassel, a biomedical sciences major who hasn’t played lacrosse since the seventh-grade after giving up the sport for baton twirling. Nevertheless, Kassel is ready to pick back up her stick and put on the USF jersey to compete in her first ever game for the USF Women’s Lacrosse Club.
“I’m a little bit nervous because I haven’t played in a while,” she said. “I just like being one of the team.”
Coach Kelly Hyland has big plans for the club this season, hoping to utilize freshmen such as Kassel to take the team to the regional tournament in the spring.
“I think we have some really great talent and the opportunity to be competitive in the league,” said Hyland, a clinical psychology doctoral student going into her second year as head coach of the club. “My hope for the team would be to continue to improve with each game that we play, and hopefully that will translate into making the playoff tournament in the spring.”
The long road to regionals starts with this weekend’s game against UCF as Hyland hopes to point the team in the right direction toward the season’s goals.
“UCF has a very strong program and great coaching staff,” Hyland said. “Having just started practice last week, this weekend will be a great litmus test to see how we stack up against a highly competitive team and to help highlight areas where we can focus at practice.”
Even though the Women’s Lacrosse Club starts playing games in the fall, the season itself doesn’t start until the spring so it’s never too late to sign up for the team, whatever the reason may be for joining.
“I joined because there was no goalie last year,” said Jo Gleason-Vergados, a junior biomedical sciences major and the risk manager of the club. “I ended up really liking it so I stayed.”
Coach Hyland strongly encourages anyone interested in the Women’s Lacrosse Club to get involved as it teaches indispensable life skills vital to personal growth, development and success.
“I absolutely love the game of lacrosse, and particularly being able to share my knowledge and watch players grow both as individuals and as a team,” Hyland said. “Athletics teaches skills that generalize so far beyond the field; sportsmanship; how to work as a team; and how to continue to challenge yourself and improve are all critical life skills.
The Women’s Lacrosse Club plays UCF at USF Magnolia Fields on Saturday at 11 a.m. Attendance is free, so come out to watch and show your support!
For more USF Women’s Lacrosse Club and Sport Clubs information, visit our website!
By Huw Morgan-Baveystock, USF Sport Clubs Marketing Supervisor