February 21, 2017
The women’s lacrosse team is primed and ready to compete in their first season at UCCS.
After practicing among themselves in their preseason, the team went into last week’s scrimmages with high expectations.
They played a few teams including Regis, who is currently ranked 17 in the country.
It was an eye-opening experience that showed the ladies what they need to work on, according to head coach Christine Hatton.
The team has started to figure out leadership dynamics among the 19 freshmen and four upperclassman athletes.
Many of the players were captains of their respective programs at their high schools, which made figuring out roles one of the biggest challenges, said Hatton.
“A lot of the girls came from programs where they are the best,” she said. “It was a lot of ‘big fish, small pond,’ and now they are against other players that are exactly the same.”
Junior defenseman Carmen Plowman has taken on a leadership role as captain, and the team looks to her for guidance as she is one of the few athletes with collegiate experience.
Plowman took off a year as a sophomore and feels the team has given her purpose and reminded her of what’s important.
“It has been really empowering to be a part of something bigger than myself,” said Plowman.
Despite these challenges, the team is ready to work hard and begin building a winning culture, said freshman defenseman Sydney Cunfer.
“If you keep putting the work in on the back side, the success is going to show up on the front side,” said Cunfer.
Many of the athletes are placing their trust in their coach’s expertise in building the new program, according to freshman midfielder Brianna Martinez.
When asked why she decided to go to a new program, she admitted to tracking coach Hatton’s career during high school.
“She is a really good coach for starting new programs, she has taken literally all of them to championships,” said Martinez.
“I have full faith in her ability. If it was a different story, I think we might not be sitting here. But I know she can do it, (and) I know I can do it, and I know we can do it,” said Martinez.
With the goal of ranking in the top six, the team has their eyes set on making it to the conference tournament. Martinez expects the team’s 23 athletes to build off the foundation they have created in preseason training.
Martinez also likes the idea of a challenge and has adopted an underdog mentality, she said. Considering they are a freshman-heavy, first-year program, most of the teams in the RMAC will expect easy wins.
“A lot of these programs are going to come out expecting a win, and that is that attitude I want them to have because we are going to shove it right back down their throat,” said Martinez.
The team has their first game against Adams State Feb. 25 at Mountain Lion Stadium.
“We want to see people coming out wanting to support us. That fuels us so much on the field and means so much to us as a program,” said Cunfer.