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Lady Bears' lacrosse opens season Saturday

Nov. 4, 2004

By JESSICA YOUNGPETER, reporter

With the fall preseason underway, the Baylor women's lacrosse team is focused on the upcoming competitive season.

The roster is full of young players, including 16 new members, but that fact hasn't fazed the team. They have looked for ways to make up for their lack of experience on the field.

"This year we have a very young team, but they are really enthusiastic and hard working," Liz Heil, lacrosse president and a Clear Lake junior, said. "The enthusiasm is what I love about them because it brings a lot of energy to the field."

Alyssa Young, a Waco freshman, joined the team because her brother was friends with one of the coaches.

"I thought I'd try something new even though I didn't know what to do it or how to play," Young said. "It's been a great experience so far."

Young said she has found a place among her new teammates. She has noticed playing club sports is different from playing sports in high school.

"No one seems to treat each other negatively, and they act like they want us to be there," Young said. "There isn't as much competition between teammates like there often is in high school sports."

The team practices for about an hour and a half Monday through Friday. During the season, the practices will become longer and more intense.

During Homecoming weekend, the team battled the alumni on a muddy field.

"The field was really wet -- it was as if it was a slip-and-slide," Heil said. "The conditions made things a bit different, and it was a lot of fun."

For many of the women, the homecoming game was their first opportunity to play in a competitive game.

"It was definitely challenging because most of the freshmen don't know all the rules yet," Young said. "But I think the game gave us an idea about how the game works."

Although the alumni won the competition, the team discovered skills they need to improve in order to be a threat in the upcoming season.

"I can see the new girls need to work on catching and cradling -- that is key to the sport," head Coach Alise Williamson, said. "Over all, the team needs to work on defense by staying goal side and making sure they do not lose their girl."

Because of campuswide budget cuts, club sports haven't received the financial support they had in the past. Members did fund-raisers to cover traveling expenses, tournament fees and equipment.

Last season, the Lady Bears placed fourth in the league championship held at the Texas Tech University campus.

"We played top-ranked teams in Texas -- teams like The University of Texas and Texas A&M University," Heil said. "We were extremely proud of Baylor placing fourth."

The start of the season is Saturday, when they travel to Texas Christian University for their first scrimmage. They will play in the first fall tournament Nov. 20, at Texas A&M.

Despite carrying a young roster, players have noticed the team posesses a characteristic that had been lacking in past years and will be an important factor to their success.

"We have such a competitive edge that in past years we've never had," Heil said. "I think that we'll be able to go far off that."