BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh women’s lacrosse team opened practice last weekend as the Mountain Hawks begin preparations for the 2015 season. The Mountain Hawks are coming off a resurgent 2014 season which saw them advance to the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2011.
“We’re excited to get going,” said senior Michelle Abramczyk. “We worked really hard over winter break to stay in shape and come back prepared and ready to go. Everyone’s excited to get going with our first scrimmage then our season opener.”
The Mountain Hawks came back to campus a few days before most students and spent the weekend focusing on lacrosse.
“We had great energy,” said head coach Jill Redfern about the first few practices. “It was really important that we came back when the girls weren’t in school and had the opportunity to really focus on lacrosse. They’re excited to get going. They’re in pretty good condition, so we’re excited about how they came back. They did a lot of work during the break, so we haven’t lost a lot since the fall. We’re looking forward to picking up from where we left off and moving forward.”
Lehigh lost two-time All-Patriot League goalkeeper Alexandra Fitzpatrick to graduation, but return an extremely veteran squad, led by seniors Abramczyk, Kelly Scott and Lauren Willcox at defense and senior All-League attacker Carli Sukonik on the offensive end.
“We have such a strong senior class,” said Redfern. “You can’t be a senior until you are one and with it comes a certain sense of urgency to accomplish something big and more than you’ve done in the past. I think the seniors are bringing that this year and it’s carrying the rest of the group.”
The seniors look to incorporate eight freshmen into the mix as the Mountain Hawks begin practice with the basics then move into more advanced concepts.
“We got past all of our fitness tests, so we’re ready to go in that respect,” said Abramczyk. “Now, we need to get some of our skills solidified and work on the attacking and defensive units, then bring it all together.”
“We’re working a lot on some smaller pieces of our offensive game and trying to refine that and put it into some of our larger sets,” said Redfern. “That’s been one of our focuses. Defensively, we’re just trying to figure out our personnel back there and also work on a lot of our communication skills on the defensive side.”
The 2015 Mountain Hawks have been through the trenches and they’re battle tested. They handed Boston University its first-ever Patriot League loss last season while also beating archrival Lafayette and enjoying several other highlight moments.
“We have a lot more experience this year,” said Abramczyk. “Coming from an upperclassman’s point of view, I think we’ve prepared a lot more as a unit together. I think everyone’s on the same page this year and just ready to get started and compete.”
Lehigh opens its season at perennial power Penn State on Feb. 14 before hosting UC Davis in its home opener on Friday, Feb. 20 at 3 p.m.
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