When most people think of spring break, the first thoughts that come to mind are relaxation or letting loose. The Slippery Rock women’s lacrosse team does not think anything of the sort. In fact, The Rock uses that time to really sharpen their focus in a time that can be used to focus solely on lacrosse.
“It’s always nice to kind of get away from school and have that opportunity to bond as a team like away from the everyday grind of school,” Van Alstyne said.
Coach Kelsey Van Alstyne, the first-year coach from near by Bloomsburg University, really emphasizes how important time away from schooling can be for the team. “It was a nice trip, long enough to get away and do something but not too long.”
The Rock began spring break with an away game against UVA-Wise in Virginia, and an away game against Young Harris College in Georgia. Coach Van Alstyne felt that the game against UVA-Wise was a bit of a struggle despite a 16-9 victory. The game against Young Harris, however, was where it really came to together in an 18-6 victory.
“It was our third (UVA-Wise) and fourth (Young Harris) games, we played okay the first (WV Wesleyan), we struggled in the second (Lake Erie),” Van Alstyne said, “the third we struggled again so when we played Young Harris, we kind of put it all together and had our best game to date.”
After starting the season with a 4-0-0 non-conference record, The Rock began PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) play on the last day of break with a match against nationally ranked West Chester University. The game did not go how Van Alstyne or her team would have liked with a 6-12 defeat at home. “There is no weak team in the PSAC, there is no off day, there is no day in which you can just go through the motions,” Van Alstyne said, “We are going to have fix some things, for sure, on the field but also just our mentality, our ability to bounce back and fix mistakes.”
The Rock followed that up with another conference match against nationally ranked Lock Haven but left with another bitter defeat, losing by a score of 7-13. The first two games of conference play for The Rock, while being as about as difficult as it gets, really gave the team a chance to see where they are early in the season. “Like you said, very tough opponents, and we just… we aren’t playing our game. Whether it’s on the defensive end or offensive end, we aren’t clicking like how we were against Young Harris.”
Despite the back-to-back losses, no one, not the coaches or the players, is discouraged. The Rock knows exactly what they are capable of after their strong showing against Young Harris. “Really positive [effects], we really hit our stride in that game,” Van Alstyne said, “We learned a lot off the field about each other and I think even though the last two games haven’t gone as we like, we definitely moved forward which is good.”
Slippery Rock stumbling early in the season might be the wake-up call that the team needed, and Van Alstyne knows that her team is going to be highly competitive moving forward and learn from this. “Our goal is, of course, to win the whole thing, and I don’t think it’s by any means out
of our reach,” Van Alstyne said, “That’s what we have said since day one, that’s what we’re here to do… to win a PSAC championship.”
Van Alstyne knows that achieving their ultimate goal is going to take some time and effort and she’s looking forward to it. “Definitely going to bounce back today at practice.” She said with a knowing smile.