Lacrosse eager for redemption

Daily Sports Writer
Published January 5, 2005

Coming into the 2005 season, the Michigan women’s club varsity lacrosse team has just one goal in mind: winning the U.S. Lacrosse Women’s Division Intercollegiate Associates national tournament.

With eight returning seniors — including the preseason player of the year in senior goalie Jackie Fu — and a No. 1 ranking, the Wolverines are confident that their goal will soon become a reality, and the only thing standing in their way is simply themselves.

After losing in the quarterfinals of the WDIA tournament last year and ending the season ranked No. 3 in the country, the Wolverines all have a bitter taste in their mouths and are more than eager to uphold their preseason ranking.

“We lost to ourselves in that game,” Fu said. “It wasn’t like we gave up. It was just one of those things where everyone wants it so bad that everyone tries to play their part, but the parts don’t go. We just didn’t have that mindset, and we got nervous, and we didn’t perform up to our ability.”

But after seeing the team come together both on and off the field, Fu hopes the Wolverines won’t cut their own season short again.

“The only people we lose to are ourselves,” Fu said. “I am so confident when I say that because this team, when we play together, it’s just the most amazing thing ever. The ball just flows, and we think as just one single mind, and we can get any job done.”

Michigan rolled to a 21-2 regular season record last season. According to the players, the strong bond of the team led Michigan to that mark, and is a defining element of this year’s squad as well. The seniors’ desire to win a national championship in their final year has motivated the team during their preseason practices to work harder and achieving their goal.

“There are eight of us (seniors), and I have never been with such a great group of girls,” senior Alana Rubin said. “All of us have the same mentality that we all want this so bad, and we are all working toward this now for three years.”

The unity of the team and its overall cohesiveness is evident to the players, who feel as though this is truly their year.

“When you walk into practice, you are with 23 of your best friends,” Rubin said. “I have never been in an environment where I can just throw the ball and I know someone is always going to be there to catch it.

“We are all working towards the same goal, and we all really want it. And I think it’s definitely obtainable this year.”

In addition to the strong senior core, the fresh faces on this year’s squad may add that extra spark the team needs to go all the way.

“We definitely have some outstanding freshmen who came into tryouts and basically blew us away,” senior Stephanie Betts said. “And it really looks like we are more of a cohesive unit and it’s not going to take us as long to get working as a team as it may have in the past.

“Communication is always a big thing, especially when you are playing against top-ranked teams who seem to click. And we need that click — and I think we really have that this year.”