Star-studded trio

Senior midfield line looks to lead SRU lacrosse into the playoffs

Published by Ryan Mosher, Date: April 4, 2024
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Charlie Rondeau, Brook Wisniewski, and Rachel Mahoney are a star midfield line for the Slippery Rock lacrosse team.

The Rock have high expectations this season and have delivered so far. These three have been a big reason why.

SRU has seven wins in their first nine games, and they currently sit in third place in the PSAC West standings. The top three teams on each side of the PSAC make the conference tournament, so The Rock will need to hold their positions to meet their goal.

“I think that every year since I have been here, we have been improving and it has always been our goal to make it to the PSAC playoffs. Coming in third in the preseason poll we are expected to get there, and I think it really is our year,” Rondeau said.

The Rock has not been to the PSAC tournament since 2018, but all three believe this is the year they will make their return.

“I think out of the four years I have been here this is the year to do it. I think we have a lot of depth; we have a lot of people who can step up in those situations when you need it the most. I think that we will really make it far this year,” Mahoney said.

Rondeau is a graduate student and arrived at SRU before the 2020 season. Mahoney and Wisniewski followed the season after.

Mahoney is a Linthicum, Maryland native. Maryland is a lacrosse hotspot, so Mahoney is no stranger to the lifestyle.

“I grew up around it my entire life, my siblings play, my cousins play, my family friends play. It is funny because my dad was a big baseball guy, and when we all switched from softball and baseball to lacrosse since it was growing so much, it was pretty difficult for him,” Mahoney said.

The entire midfield line is on pace to break or match their career highs in points for a season.

Wisniewski is thriving this season around the net. She is leading the team in shooting percentage with a 62.1% success rate on her shots. She also is second on the team in goals with 18, three behind Camryn Whipple.

“In practice every day we get shots…I’m not a driver like these two. They will drive and score, but I am cutting. I take what my teammates give me and from there it is just finesse. I try to see where the goalie is and just shoot around them. Just reps and finesse,” Wisniewski said.

While Rondeau is contributing offensively as well with 19 points in nine games, she is extending her draw control record at SRU.

“I do not think it is one thing specifically. I think the draw is as much mental as it is physical. I think of it as outsmarting your opponents. If teams are scouting me for one thing, we will overplay that and then expose a different part and I think it is the mental game more than anything. Just get a lot of reps and practice,” Rondeau said.

Rondeau, Wisnewski and Mahoney have great chemistry on the field, but are also close off the field. Rondeau credits how close they are to why they play well together.

“I think just being so close off of the field, especially us three being a middy line together, we connect so much off of the field and when we get on the field, we know each other so well and that helps us play so well together,” Rondeau said.

Additionally, the midfield line has a tradition on the nights before game day.

“We go to Chipotle as a friend group,” Mahoney said. “The Chipotle tropical smoothie” is often a popular option when they go.

The trio enjoyed a productive spring break trip to the Carolinas where they played two one-goal games and came out victorious in one of the two.

They enjoyed playing teams they usually would not. It was also a great bonding opportunity for everyone involved.

“Every spring break trip is enjoyable because we get to go somewhere different and play non-conference teams, so it is not your normal PSAC teams and you stay with each other, the whole team for the week so you really get to bond and do a bunch of fun stuff. We went to an NHL game, a Duke vs Harvard lacrosse game, it was just fun,” Wisniewski said.

Superstitions are a fun part of sports that give a sneak peek to an athlete’s preparation, and these three are no different.

“I would say I am superstitious about my hair honestly, like having the same hairstyle. Say I would do a ponytail instead of a bun one day and we lose it because I changed my hair up. I think that is one thing,” Wisniewski said.

Safe to say you can expect to see Wisniewski in a bun during the next Rock matchup. On the contrary, you will not see Mahoney wearing any eye black.

“I think that eye black is a big superstition. I have not worn it this season, but I wore it last season. Not wearing it, we have done well, so I do not wear it anymore,” Mahoney said.

For Rondeau, it is her shoes.

“I always put my left shoe on then my right, then I tie my left, then I tie my right. That is just like a little one,” Rondeau said.

Looking forward further in the season, there are a few games they have circled on the calendar.

“I would say the rematch against Seton Hill is one for sure because we did not play up to our potential. We have beaten teams that were receiving votes, so just to lose by a lot to Seton Hill last game and it feels like we have unfinished business against them, so it is kind of like revenge. I would say that is a big one that is on the calendar,” Wisniewski said.

It is critical for SRU to beat the teams they will be fighting with over a playoff spot, especially when those teams are your rivals.

“I think that IUP, that is obviously a big rival and big opportunity for us. I definitely think we can beat them and beat them twice. We need to beat teams like Mercyhurst twice and the same with Lock Haven. We just cannot have any lull games,” Rondeau said.

The star-studded trio will be fun to watch as The Rock makes a push for the PSAC playoffs.

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