Interesting, fun and exciting is how Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Jillian Howley described the University of Indianapolis Women’s Lacrosse team as it started off the season by beating the Charleston Gold Eagles 17-1, and the Lee University Flames 22-1.
On Feb. 18, the Hounds started off their game against the Flames scoring 16 unanswered points in the first half. Only 23 seconds into the game, freshman defense Kelly Pinkerton scored the first goal with an assist from junior attack Anna Rulapaugh. The women held their opponents to zero, until halfway through the second half, when the Flames scored their sole goal of the game. The Hounds put one more back on the board before winning 22-1.
As a team, the women limited the Flames to only three shots, and achieved 17 ground balls to the Flame’s seven. Freshman attack/midfield Grace Gunneson led the team with four goals, followed by sophomore attack/midfield Laura McKee and freshman midfield Micayla Gammon both followed with three.
On Feb. 11, the team battled the Gold Eagles in the first game of their season. Just five minutes into the game, the Greyhounds made their way onto the scoreboard with a free position goal by freshman attack/midfield Kailee King, followed by three points from Rulapaugh. The team continued its advance as sophomore attack Krista Temple and McKee led the team to a 9-0 lead in the first half.
The women pushed their lead to 11-0, until the Golden Eagles scored their first and only goal despite their total of 13 shot attempts. The Gammon made a career first goal, along with a season first for sophomore attack Hana Priddy. Ground balls and seven fewer turnovers than the opposing team helped the Hounds remain in control for the remainder of the game.
Sophomore goalie Claire Difato brought two saves with the help of the team’s defense. Gammon took the lead with three caused turnovers, and then McKee and King followed with two each. Four ground balls were then added by both Gammon and Gunneson, respectively.
The team has been working throughout the year to prepare for this season.
“It goes back to fall ball,” Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Howley said. “ We competed in five different play days and then we upped the ante this year with our off-season [along] with playing three Division I teams, which was exciting. So I think that helped. It was good to see that kind of competition in the fall. And then this preseason, as soon as we got back to it, we kind of hit the ground running and we opened up with a scrimmage a week before our season. And we had a home opener on Saturday [Feb. 11]. I think that helped a lot, because normally when we play women’s lacrosse, we play two halves, but we played that game as four quarters. So we were kind of able to play each of those with different sets. So we did four different defenses, different offenses and worked on our plays, you know, things of that nature. This past Saturday went well, but we still have a lot of things to clean up though for sure.”
In terms of practice, Howley wants the team to pick up the intensity and go at game pace.
“The way you practice is the way you’re going to play at the end of the day. And so that’s
why I think we really need to fix things up. But yeah, this Saturday was a good showing for us. You know, ultimately we did really well. It was a little sloppy at times, but overall it went well,” Howley said.
The team will work on cleaning up the sloppiness it has been experiencing, along with working on the jitters the predominantly young team has had, according to Howley.
“I think that it was a really good game and we got to practice some of the setups and, like she said [Howley], getting some of the jitters out,” McKee said. “I know I was one of the players that needed to work on some of that sloppiness and stuff like that so it’s good to have that out of the way and be able to move on to the next game. And having a team that wouldn’t give up even though they were down is good too, so that we know that even if we are winning in a game we can’t stop working, and we have to keep pushing through.”
Early into the season, the team continues its hard work and looks for as many wins as possible, according to McKee.
“Season is what you work so hard for the rest of the year. That’s why you stick it out through the conditioning and preseason, so you can go out, show who you are, work together as a team and get the W [win],” she said.
Howley said the team is staying positive for the rest of the season to come.
“I’m excited. It should be good. We can definitely have a good year. Wins and losses aside, we are growing for the future and building for the future,” she said.
For its third game of the season, the team will travel to Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. to play against the Mercy College Mavericks on Feb. 24 at 12 p.m.