The Slippery Rock Women’s lacrosse team will look to round off their spring 2022 season with a win as they host rivals Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) in their penultimate game of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) season.
The Rock currently have a 10-6 record overall with a 6-5 record in PSAC conference play. Sitting on a hat-trick of wins, interim head coach Taryn Buckholder will be looking to see her free scoring team finish strongly.
Numerous records have been broken by multiple players throughout the campaign, yet it is junior midfielder Charleigh Rondeau who has impressed in her third season at the Rock.
Rondeau, an industrial and systems engineering major from Buffalo, New York, tells of how she came of linking up with the lacrosse program at Slippery Rock University. “I looked at a lot of schools including Mercyhurst University and Niagara, but both of those schools are liberal arts and I didn’t know yet what I wanted to do. I came to Slippery Rock undecided, but when I visited the lacrosse team and the campus I immediately fell in love. I knew I was supposed to be here. I didn’t get that same feeling with the other schools I looked at”, concluded Rondeau.
Yet despite her excitement of lining up with her teammates in such a prestigious program, Rondeau’s maiden season was to be cut short prematurely in the spring of 2020 following on from the Covid-19 pandemic. Rondeau reflects on a vivid memory in what was an uncertain time for all athletes and students. “Our coach shared the news with us (in regards to the season ending). We did have some hopes of coming back in a few weeks but obviously that didn’t happen. We were able to have one last practice as we really wanted to honor the seniors who had played here the last four years”, Rondeau said.
Although the pandemic marked a frustrating first campaign for Rondeau, there was no time for slacking. Rondeau was busy over the months ahead, making sure to stay sharp given a season could be announced at any point. “I did a lot of lifting over the summer and the fall”, Rondeau commented. “I also got into long distance running during lockdown as there was nothing else to really do”, she continued. “It was a huge relief though to be back with my teammates again. Despite all the protocols and masks, it was a sense of normality”.
Due to the events of the pandemic, Rondeau was only able to participate in five games in her first year at the Rock. However, confident in her ability, Rondeau knew when her chance came along, she was ready to take it. “In freshman year I didn’t get much of an opportunity but I was working really hard over the off season. I wanted to be able to make an impact once we got back on the field”, Rondeau recalls. “I wasn’t really expecting to start but it eventually came. Once I was in the team it was just about giving one hundred percent in training to stay there as there is a lot of competition within our team. There is never a guarantee you’ll be a starter so you just have to keep working hard”, Rondeau observes.
A number of records have been broken by the women’s lacrosse team over the spring of 2022, with a number of other standout performers on show, such as the likes of Emily Benham and Jamie DiCarlo. Rondeau received her own award for her impressive performances for the Rock over the spring of 2021, as she was named in the second team all PSAC-West. While Rondeau admits it was in her mind, she believes hard work is groundwork to receive such an award. “I was so happy to get that award”, Rondeau said. “But I believe that if you work hard, things like that come naturally to you.”
However, Rondeau also highlights the importance of teamwork and how she has thoroughly enjoyed playing at Slippery Rock thus far. “It’s great with the connections we’ve all made outside of lacrosse. It’s really great to enjoy being with your teammates, playing with your best friends and being happy for them because you know how hard they have worked”.
With just one game left of the season at the time of writing, Rondeau sets out the goal for the team and what her and her teammates will be looking to accomplish in what promises to be a feisty encounter between to close rivals. “Above all we want to have fun. We want to be able to cherish this last game for our seniors because they have done so much for the rest of us and the program in general”, Rondeau concludes.
Charleigh Rondeau will be in action in the last game of the season when the Slippery Rock women’s lacrosse team will look to finish strong when they play host to Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) on Saturday 30th April, 2022 at 1PM.