The SRU women’s lacrosse team concluded its 2019 campaign with a 7-9 record following a Senior Day victory over Shippensburg Saturday. The Green and White fell short of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) tournament for the first time since 2016.
“Overall, we played inconsistently throughout the season,” second-year head coach Kelsey Van Alstyne said. “I think that the first half of the season on the road, we weren’t doing as well of a job with mental preparation as we were at home. We ended up fixing it, but in some games, we just couldn’t get the job done.”
The team’s attack ranked last in points per game, had the worst shooting percentage, and second-least shots on goal per game in the league. On the road, Slippery Rock was unable to manage a single win. In its friendly confines, however, The Rock won seven of its eight contests.
“Having home field advantage and your own locker room and routine makes it easier to be successful,” Van Alstyne said.
Junior midfielder ShyAnne Toomer became the program’s 14th player to notch 100 points in an April 23 victory over Lake Erie. The junior midfielder netted 25 markers this spring and sits eighth in school history in assists.
“I’m very excited to have her for another year,” Van Alstyne said of her leading scorer. “She works very hard outside of what we do and I think she’ll reach another level in finishing out her senior year.”
The head coach named three freshmen contributors that caught her eye throughout the schedule. Molly Buettner, an attacker, notched eight goals. New Yorkers Emily Benham and Katie Dlugosz scored 16 and 12, respectively.
“I think all three will be significantly better because of their experience and I’m expecting big things from the freshmen that didn’t get as much time,” Van Alstyne said. “They should be hungry.”
In comparison with a 22-player swing following the 2018 season, the team loses only two players from 2019, defender Danie Porath and attacker Kelly Muenster. Van Alstyne hopes that inconsistency will wane with experience.
The team had to coalesce last offseason as it learned a defensive set, new plays and concepts, and got familiar with coaching styles, Van Alstyne said. This time around, she added, with five incoming recruits rather than a dozen, it should be easier for the team to get going.
“I’m hoping [consistency] comes with confidence and experience,” Van Alstyne said. “Having this year under their belt and being successful against certain teams can hopefully show them that they can play for a whole 60 minutes like they’re capable of.”
For training, strength and conditioning coach Chris Van Alstyne, Kelsey’s husband, made a workout packet with speed, agility, and plyometrics. Kelsey and her assistant, Sarah Lamphier will focus on training gameplay fundamentals, hoping to avoid turnovers and sharpen ability to finish shots and get open.
“The PSAC is one of the toughest conferences in DII,” Van Alstyne said. “We’ll evaluate what worked and what didn’t and make adjustments to practices and concepts. There were definitely games where we showed our potential. I know I inherited a group my first year, but I think this group is still going to do tremendous things.”