In the Locker Room with Grace Barlow and Suzanna Doak


Benjamin Shepherd, Photo editor

Grace Barlow (left) and Suzanna Doak

Sarena Malsin, Sports Editor

This week, the Review sat down with women’s lacrosse team seniors Grace Barlow and Suzanna Doak to discuss their season on the heels of last year’s North Coast Athletic Conference runner-up title, away-game bus shenanigans and their feelings about the end of their college la­crosse careers.

How do you see last sea­son’s success impacting this season?

Suzanna Doak: I think it will [impact this season] in a very big way. I think we’re all pretty charged up off our success from last season, and we’re ready to enter the season with the same amount of energy that ended it.

Grace Barlow: Last season was hard, because when we were met with success, we didn’t know how to handle it or sustain it, and now we have been there, and hopefully we’ll have much more composure over the course of the season. I think it will re­ally help us.

What are your goals for this season?

GB: Beat. Denison. Beat them just in the regular season and then obviously make it back to the tournament.

SD: And win the tournament this year!

What was the atmosphere like at the championship game?

SD: It was good; I think we were all very excited to be there. At the same time, it was also a challenge, because we were a pretty injured team at that point.

GB: We were excited and re­ally thrilled to have made it that far, but at least for me, in the back of my head I was thinking, “Wow, we actually made it here? This is a weird feeling.” Com­ing out of the first round game [against] Wittenburg [Univer­sity] was unreal. It was such a good game, and I’ve never seen a team more excited.

SD: And we were lucky, we got a ton of people to come out and watch us — friends, family. It was a really good feeling.

How do you stay focused for games on the road like that?

SD: Everyone has their own personal habits.

GB: Well, [Suzanna] falls asleep. She’ll be asleep in the back of the bus for the first half, and then like clockwork she’ll wake up like halfway through the bus ride. I’ll see her stick her head out from the seat, and then she goes and gets a snack from the front of the bus.

SD: That’s all I do.

GB: Personally, I’m a big mu­sic fan — Suzanna is too — and I’ll listen to the same playlist or the same type of music when go­ing to away games. I try to do homework, but it doesn’t work.

What are you looking to do for your first game this season?

SD: We have [seven] new freshmen this year, so we’re real­ly looking to integrate them and see how they play and what their comfort levels are for their first game. That will be really key in determining how the rest of our season is going to go.

Do you see making the con­ference championships for the first time in 15 years as a turning point for the team? What do you see in the team’s future?

GB: I think that in the past, we’ve been told we’re a good team and we should expect suc­cess. But now that we have a group of upperclassmen who have experienced it, we can in­tegrate the underclassmen into that [mentality] that we should expect to be a contender in the tournament every year from this point on, and that the team is only going to get better, espe­cially with our coach.

How has Coach McCandlish impacted the team?

GB: Coach McCandlish has had a huge impact on our team. She played at a high level in col­lege, and the field strategy that she implemented into our pro­gram has really helped us grow as players and as a team. It takes a lot to faze her on the sidelines. It’s nice as a player to know that she’s always there to say, “Just breathe. Go back on the field and try it again.”

SD: Coach McCandlish has been the most important per­son for transforming our team so far. Coming in, she immedi­ately worked to bring [up] every­one’s stick skills and has imple­mented some important attacks and defensive plays that have been key for how we approach games mentally and physically. As Grace said, her constant sup­port has been a positive influ­ence too.

How is that integration on the team going so far this season?

SD: It’s going pretty good. I mean, we’ve always been a really close team, and this year defi­nitely hasn’t been an exception.

GB: The atmosphere when we came in as first-years was great, and we hope our first years feel the same now. There’s a lot of love on our team.

What are you going to miss the most about the team when you graduate?

SD: Definitely the people.

GB: I’m going to miss [how] there are always these times on bus rides to or from games where sometimes our team just gets in these really weird moods, and it’s just the funniest thing. I’m going to miss that a lot.

Are there any words of wisdom you’re hoping to leave with the team?

GB: My words for the team would be: Winning is important, lacrosse is important, but our relationship and our responsi­bility to each other is going to trump everything at the end of the day.

SD: I would agree with that. I think our history, what with changing coaches and los­ing people over the years, has [shown] that staying close and being supportive is the most important.