The Oberlin Review

In the Locker Room with Phoebe Hammer and Simone Brodner

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Phoebe Hammer (left) and Simone Brodner

Phoebe Hammer (left) and Simone Brodner

Zach Harvey

Zach Harvey

Phoebe Hammer (left) and Simone Brodner

Nate Levinson, Sports Editor

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This week the Review sat down with senior women’s lacrosse captains Phoebe Hammer and Simone Brodner to discuss how the team has changed over the years, what it’s like being seniors and how they feel about Kenyon College’s mascot.

What are your expectations for this season?

SB: I think this is the best we’ve ever looked at this time in my years here — and it is hard to say because we don’t know how other teams in our conference have been preparing — but I feel really good about our upcoming games. We have a lot of new talent, and I think our new coach is doing a really good job.

PH: It’s great, because this year no one sucks. There’s not that person that when they go in, you’re like, ‘Ok, we’re going to lose.’ Everyone’s really good. We have a lot of depth.

What are some ways you’d like to improve on last season?

PH: We’re such a completely different team than last season. Less than half of us were on the team last year. We have nine new freshmen, a brand-new coach and a brand-new assistant. Completely different offense, completely different defense. I don’t think you can even compare it, except that we’re going to be way better.

This is your first season with Lynda McCandlish. How are things going to be different under her watch?

SB: She has high expectations, but she’s really clear about them. She sets the bar high because she’s accustomed to a high level of play, but she’s very reasonable. The kinds of drills that she runs all seem to really make sense in terms of game play. She’s also just a cool person, and I think it’s easy for us to relate to her.

PH: Well first of all, she’s not a crazy psycho, which is awesome. She has a great balance between being a great coach and really pushing us, but also knowing that we’re humans and that we also have a life outside of lacrosse. She went to Northwestern too; she’s a badass. Her stick skills are so good, we just like watching her play sometimes.

How has the team changed during your four years at Oberlin?

PH: We’ve had five different assistant coaches and three different head coaches since we’ve been here. Every time it happens, a coach has a completely different system. Lacrosse here has been such a battle, emotionally and physically. Every semester was a new surprise. We’re really lucky in that we have a good core of seniors that have all pushed through and we’ve all been through it together.

What’s it like being seniors and team captains?

SB: It’s really cool. It’s definitely an honor, and the best part about it is that it’s an opportunity to influence the culture of the team and keep it the way that it’s been. I’ve always felt a huge sense of support, and the loving nature of the team has always been really positive and a really great experience. It’s nice to be able to keep that going and do the things that seniors in the past have done for me for this year’s freshmen.

PH: I just remember looking up to the seniors when I was a freshman and thinking, they knew so much about Oberlin, with lacrosse and with life. For both of us, being a captain some of it is on the field, but 90 percent of it is being there for our teammates. Some of the freshmen say they’re scared of me, but they’re not. I’m the least scary person.

How are the first-years looking thus far?

SB: I really like all of them as people, and it’s been a ton of fun getting to know them.

PH: They’re just great and they’re all really good lacrosse players. All of our freshmen are really good — better than me, basically. I’m like, ‘Holy crap, I need to get my act together so I can still start.’

Is it difficult watching teammates and friends graduate? Do you ever feel like something is missing at the beginning of the season?

PH: I think everyone’s core is the first team they played with coming in as a freshman. The class above us was a big class and were some of our best friends, so it’s definitely been hard, but at the same time we’re realizing that we’re the new core.

What are the best and worst parts about being on the lacrosse team?

SB: Playing lacrosse is a really unique opportunity. It’s cool to realize [that] I got to participate in NCAA competition, I got to play sports, and I had all these wild experiences that a lot of people never had. The worst part has been a lot of psychological pressure to perform, especially with our last coach.

PH: Worst part is that I’ve been to about two TGIFs in my life because we always have practice from 4:30 to 6:30 when the weather is nice. The happiest day of my life at Oberlin is the day that we beat Allegheny [College], my sophomore year. I really felt that I was a part of something that was bigger than myself.

Which game are you most excited for, and who is your biggest rival?

PH: I think all of us have a different biggest rival. For the senior class, I think it’s Kenyon [College], because we’ve come so close to beating them for the last three years. We’re not Kenyon’s biggest rival; they think we’re a joke a little bit. That’s why it’s going to be even better when we beat them. Whose mascot is the Ladies, anyway?

SB: Beating Kenyon would be awesome. I’m also looking forward to my senior day game. I’m going to cry.

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