A force to be reckoned with will be coming to Chryst Field at Biemesderfer Stadium this spring season.
The Millersville women’s lacrosse team is coming off of a milestone season. The team has their sights set on returning to the playoffs this year and in the years to come.
They reached the playoffs for the first time since 2001. Their 11-7 record was their largest victory total since 1990. They also finished Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East division play with a 7-5 record.
“Last year, we were definitely set on making the playoffs,” Sophomore midfielder Natalie Sukanick stated. “After we lost the first round, we were all pretty proud of how far we’ve come.”
The Marauders took a big step last season by making the PSAC playoffs. However, they were knocked out in the quarterfinals, leaving them itching for more.
Their early playoff exit has motivated them to making it further into the postseason. Sophomore midfielder Natalie Sukanick stated that the team plans to surpass last year’s goals and expectations.
“We were able to prove not only to ourselves, but [to] a lot of other people, who we are and what we’re capable of,” Sukanick said.
Millersville is not a team that opponents can walk all over this season.
Junior attacker Callie Kavanagh stated that the team met during the preseason and discussed their goals for the 2017 season. They all reached a consensus that the number one goal is to have the mentality of becoming a team that is no longer unnoticed amongst the PSAC.
Junior attacker Kristen Butzner also stated that the team wants to prove the doubters wrong. She also stated that this team is not a fluke and more than just a one-time success.
“There is nothing more motivating than people who don’t believe in you,” Butzner said.
The team’s willingness to win will allow them to become that team to watch out for in the PSAC this season. With 19 of their 28 players being underclassmen, the success from last season can be built off of a nucleus of energetic excitement. Kavanagh stated that the sophomores stepping up is key for the team to continue their winning ways.
“When everyone is dedicated and focused on our goals, we can make good things happen,” freshman Jasa Lorah said.
The knowledge and experience the juniors and seniors have will guide the youth-rich team. Butzner stated that as a junior, it’s her job to share her wisdom with her younger teammates.
“We look towards the leadership of the older girls to help and guide us,” Lorah said.
Some of those players who will help lead the team are also those to watch out for this season.
“These seniors bring so much to the table,” Sukanick said. “They are the top players for our team on both sides of the ball.”
Sukanick stated that as a young team, they are very fortunate to have the leadership of the senior class.
“[They] lead by example, which has made the transition for all our new players extremely easy,” Sukanick said.
Some of the players to watch this season range from all class ranks.
Senior midfielder Jamie Damirgian is a part of the team’s strong midfield line. She one of the four seniors on the team. Her work ethic inspires her teammates to work harder both on and off the field.
“When you see Jaime (Damirgian) running, you want to run the other way,” Kavanagh said.
Sabrina Fusco is a junior attacker. She ranked second amongst the team in goals (56) and points (68) last season. She was nominated to the All-PSAC Second Team and a PSAC Scholar-Athlete.
“Sabrina (Fusco) has great cuts and gets open easily,” Butzner said. “She also works hard in the redefend to get the ball back.”
Sukanick is coming of a bold freshman season where she started in 12 out of 17 games she played in. She led the team in turnovers with 20. She was named All-PSAC Third Team and a Scholar-Athlete alongside Fusco.
“She’s such a great defender and is super quick,” Butzner said. “She’s also someone everyone looks to transition the ball up the field.”
The Marauders will also get a boost in net this season. Shannon Davis is returning from an injury that sidelined her last season. Kavanagh stated that Davis is the field commander of the entire team. She is the calming voice that keeps the defense in line and eyes that can see the game from a different perspective.
“She is fantastic at leading the defense,” Lorah stated. “She is always yelling out directions and commands to help coordinate everyone working in the field.”
Lorah also believes that the whole team is dynamic because they have so many different players to watch out for that are all contributing.
“We want to be a team that out works and out hustles every team we play,” Butzner said.
According to Kavanagh, PSAC opponents would label Millersville as an “easy win.” She now believes that opponents will now have to take Millersville seriously this season.
Millersville was projected to finish seventh in the league in the preseason PSAC poll. Butzner stated how they want to be a team that out works and out hustles every team they play.
“Every other team is beatable,” Kavanagh said. “You just have to have a good game plan going into it.”
The women’s lacrosse team is really excited for games to start and can’t wait to show everyone how hard they’ve been working.
With a lot of experience coming back from the last year’s starting lineup, Millersville women’s lacrosse will become a team and a program that opponents respect, which will be a “game changer” for Millersville and the PSAC.