UAlbany Women’s Lacrosse Ready for Season
By: Lamya Zikry
The University at Albany Women’s Lacrosse team was itching to get their season started after months of practices and one scrimmage against Harvard.
Despite excitement and readiness for their first test Saturday, Feb. 27 against Cornell, the result did not end in their favor. The Great Danes fell 9-5.
Head coach John Battaglino hopes they can pick up where they left off last year. “We’re a pretty dangerous team. We can move the ball around well and I think we can be fun to watch,” he said.
“Practice has been tough mentally and physically especially since other teams have started playing games already,” said senior Rachel Bowles. “Having weeks of practices can be tiring for everyone. But I’m excited that we finally get to show everyone how hard we’ve been working.” Bowles certainly has been working hard and was recently named to the Tewaaraton Top 50 watch list.
Dakota Savitcheff, a junior who plays on the attack agrees with Bowles. “So far practice has been going really well. We have practice Monday through Saturday and lift on Tuesday and Thursday which makes it both mentally and physically exhausting.”
The team’s practices have been focused around their offensive plays and moving people around to different positions to see where their chemistry is. They’ve also been watching film to help scout other teams.
Savitcheff says they do a lot of shooting and transition drills to help them out with both their build up to the attack and then the final piece, scoring. “One thing that helps a lot is scrimmaging to see how we play full field and it’s also more game like which helps us get a better feel for playing other teams,” Savitcheff said.
Lacrosse falls in that awkward period between winter and spring, where the weather is hormonal, therefore the team has been adapting with the inconsistencies. .
Battaglino says that even though the weather has been warmer than usual, it’s very difficult to get things done. He says it has been very windy, cold, and rainy so it’s tough to get quality practices.
“You’re trying to teach and talk through things and you can’t in this weather,” said Battaglino. He also worries about the players and puts them into consideration since they don’t have gloves or helmets. “The wind goes right through them and they’re holding down on a metal stick, so it’s uncomfortable,” he said.
Savitcheff says they practiced in the bubble for the first couple weeks then went outside but it became unbearingly cold. This past week’s practice has been at an indoor facility off campus. Playing indoors allows Battaglino to communicate clearer with the girls without the interruption of the wind, rain, sleet or snow. When they do play outside, Bowles said they stick to full field drills because it’s more realistic and beneficial than struggling to hear the coaches talk about tactics.
Savitcheff loves practicing with the team, but she also likes the competition and excitement of game day.
Bowles is looking forward to the same thing. “This year we start out with tough games but it is good competition to see where we are at going into the season,” she said.
Bowles and Savitcheff, now as upperclassmen help the underclassmen with the transition from high school lacrosse to college lacrosse. Throughout the fall season is the time when the team gets close hopefully building a strong foundation for when the regular season starts.
Someone to definitely keep an eye on is sophomore, Allie Jimerson. Bowles said she is an all-around great player. “She sees the field better than anyone on this team. She knows when people are going to be open and is able to create plays for herself and other players,” she said.
Savitcheff said another person to be on the lookout for is Bowles. Savitcheff said she has always been their key player and this is her last year playing with them. Savitcheff said being named in the Tewaaraton Top-50 watch list means Bowles is one of the best players in the country.
Bowles is honored to be named on the list. “I would never have received any awards or acknowledgments without the help of my teammates,” she said. In her opinion, they are successful because they play well together on the field and she’s excited to see what they can bring to the table this year.
This season they have seven scheduled home games and eight away games. Their next game is an away game on Friday, March 4th against Elon.