Young Roster Sparks Hope for Yeowomen Lacrosse


Courtesy of Erik Andrews

Junior midfielder Kate Hanick sprints down the field during a 2013 game. The Yeowomen open their season on the road against Otterbein University March 8.

Tyler Sloan, Editor in Chief

With eight days until the season officially commences, the women’s lacrosse team is busy preparing for its upcoming attempt at a conference title. The Yeowomen welcome nine rookies this year alongside new head coach Lynda McCandlish and new assistant coach Rosie Knisley.

Included in the group of first years are influential newcomers Alexa L’Insalata and Sara Phister. The two fill important gaps in the roster as key goalkeeper and skilled drawer respectively. Junior co-captain Kate Hanick believes that this will add a much-needed depth to the already talented roster.

“We have a really good goalie this year and a solid defense. I think that all the gaps have been filled with strong underclassmen. Phister also wins draws every time. I’m really excited to see it all come together during games,” Hanick said.

L’Insalata comes in with a wide breadth of experience, including accolades from high school, such as leading her team to a conference championship as senior captain and earning the title of an Academic All-American the same year.

“It’s nice because we are all in the same boat,” said L’Insalata regarding her fellow first-year teammates. “We are all looking forward to our first collegiate game, but there are a lot of nerves that go with that.”

Phister, a native of Phoenix, AZ, also enters her first season with a handful of accomplishments under her belt. A two-time Academic All-American and US Lacrosse Jackie Pitts Award winner, Phister graduated high school with over 200 goals to her name. She will add an edge to the Yeowomen’s attack this spring.

“I am so excited to continue learning from my coaches and teammates. I have never learned so much about the game in such a small period of time,” she said.

Phister attributes her new knowledge of the game to McCandlish’s tremendous coaching experience and her ability to build teams with winning records. During her tenure as a collegiate lacrosse player at Northwestern University, McCandlish helped lead her team to an NCAA title in 2005 and 2006. She was part of the most successful women’s lacrosse program in school history at the time of her graduation. Since then, she has successfully coached several different lacrosse programs, including her own high school’s team.

“Playing lacrosse at Northwestern was an incredible experience. I’m hoping to bring a lot of what I learned there to Oberlin. Part of our success at NU was due to our work ethic, positive mindset and risk-taking on the field. We’re trying to build our program around those same values,” McCandlish said.

With her winning record and strong coaching techniques, Hanick believes that McCandlish will continue to contribute new coaching techniques and styles that will ultimately improve the quality of play for the women’s lacrosse team. She appreciates McCandlish’s low-key attitude and believes that her coaching style makes the team want to work hard.

Hanick, a veteran Yeowoman, will enter her penultimate season with two strong years behind her. In 2012, Hanick earned her spot on the All-Conference Honorable Selection roster and added 14 goals for the team last season. Hanick remains a force for the Yeowomen and foresees even more success for the Yeowomen with a young and talented roster this spring.

She will co-captain with three members of the graduating class, including Phoebe Hammer, Simone Brodner and Sarah Orbuch. The Yeowomen, who held a 4–11 record last season, are hoping to clinch a conference title this year and make their way to the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.

The first non-conference game of the season will be held in Westerville, OH, against Otterbein University on Saturday, March 8. The Yeowomen will kick off official North Coast Athletic Conference play against long-time rival Kenyon College at home on Saturday, March 21.

“It’s our goal to be a contender in our conference tournament this year,” McCandlish said. We have a very athletic, deep pool of talent on our team. If we stay healthy, focused and positive, I think we can surprise some teams this year and compete with any team in our conference.”