Yeowomen Sweep Spring Break Games


Courtesy of Erik Andrews

Senior captain and midfielder Kate Hanick sprints down the field during a home game against the DePauw University Tigers on March 21. The Yeowomen have won six games in a row and are 8–1 on the season.

Nate Levinson, Sports Editor

The women’s lacrosse team traveled to Oregon and Washington over spring break, winning all three of its games to push its season record to 7–1.

After defeating the the DePauw University Tigers 12–5 on Saturday, March 21 in its last game before the road trip, the team played games on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, picking up wins over the University of Puget Sound Loggers, the George Fox University Bruins and the Pacific University Boxers.

Against the Tigers, the Yeowomen dominated from the outset, scoring six unanswered goals to start the game. They led 7–1 at the half and never looked back, thanks to multiple goals by junior midfielder Grace Barlow, senior co-captain and midfielder Kate Hanick, first-year midfielder Sydney Garvis and sophomore attacker Sara Phister. Sophomore goalkeeper Alexa L’Insalata also played well, making 15 saves.

Three days later against the Loggers in Tacoma, WA, the team wasn’t nearly as dominant early on but rode a strong second half to a 13–8 victory. After heading into the half tied at five, the Yeowomen finished the game on an 8–3 run to keep their winning streak alive.

The team’s next game against the Bruins followed a similar script. After trailing 5–4 at halftime, the Yeowomen ultimately won 11–8. Barlow led the comeback as she scored three of her game-high five goals in the second half.

The comeback victories were the Yeowomen’s first of the season, and Head Coach Lynda McCandlish hopes they will benefit the team later in the season.

“It was an awesome confidence booster for us, knowing that we can come back in the second half of games and win even if we are down at halftime,” she said.

Though the Yeowomen gained valuable experience from the close games early in the week, the team was happy to head home with an easy 11–4 game against the Boxers in their third and final spring break game. L’Insalata played well again, making 13 saves to lead the Yeowomen’s effort.

Now, the key for the team will be to continue its strong play. The Yeowomen got off to a strong start last season as well, winning their first five games. They struggled to keep up the pace once conference games began, however, and lost five of their final eight games. This year, the team is healthier, and, according to senior co-captain and attacker Bronwen Schumacher, confident it won’t hit a similar snag.

“Last year we had a lot of injuries. Sara Phister was out in the middle of spring break, and this year she’s been doing a really great job. Same thing with Kate Hanick,” said Schumacher. “We also have a very deep team, especially when it comes to attack.”

McCandlish also feels the stiffer competition that the team has faced early this season will benefit them in the tougher conference matchups.

“I think that we did finish last season pretty competitively and conference games are always tougher than non-conference games, but this year we’ve had a tougher schedule and that is promising for us,” she said.

The Yeowomen played well in the first of seven consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference games against the Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops on Wednesday, dominating the Bishops 15–1. Phister scored five goals and an Ohio Wesleyan goal with under a minute remaining in the game was the only thing between the team and a shutout.

Schumacher downplayed the game’s importance because the Battling Bishops have struggled this season but said the game was “a chance to show the rest of the conference what we can do.”

Two years removed from a 4–11 campaign, the Yeowomen have taken huge steps to become major players in the NCAC. Strong recruiting and coaching by McCandlish has a lot do with that, but the team’s improved confidence has also played a part in its success.

“We are a lot more composed than we were in years past, and that has led to results,” said senior defender Jodi Helsel. “This is the first year where we feel like we can not only compete in the tough conference games but also win them.”

The team will look to stay perfect in NCAC play when it takes on the Wittenberg University Tigers next Tuesday, April 7 in Springfield, Ohio.