By Heather Kinee Contributing Writer
With the women’s lacrosse team nearing its season, head coach Beth Lebel was able to shed some insight on their upcoming season. Lebel, a UMF graduate, didn’t find her passion for coaching until she worked in sports information.
“I knew that after my experiences as a student athlete here I didn’t want to be done with athletics,” Lebel said. Since Label was once a student athlete herself, she found the drive to become a coach at UMF. Label already knew the town, the other coaches, the community, and she wanted to give back through coaching.
One coach that had a huge positive impact was Molly Wilkie, the women’s soccer coach. “Having a coach that believes in you is 80 percent said Lebel and Molly was that coach.”
While attending UMF, Lebel played four years of soccer and two years of lacrosse. When Lebel graduated, she jumped in as an assistant coach with her former coach Wilkie. “I looked up to Molly as a coach,” said Lebel, “and now I had the opportunity to work along side of her as my mentor.”
Lebel started off assistant coaching soccer and lacrosse but when the position opened up for the head coaching position, she applied and got the job. Lebel has now been assistant coaching soccer for five years and and has been head coach of the women’s lacrosse team for three.
Only a week into the season Lebel says that the team is meshing really well together already. “Having everyone who did fall ball is now here on the team really makes a difference,” said Lebel. The team is already way ahead of where they were last year.
Though the lacrosse team lost a couple of key players last year, they have a good chunk of experienced players coming back, including six seniors, three of which are captains. “Having such a strong core as our highest class is great as they all lead as examples and really help and encourage our underclassmen,” said Lebel.
Sam Cross, a senior Biology Pre-Vet major, has played lacrosse at UMF for all four years. Cross is one of the captains and also has high hopes for the season. “The team has changed over the years by becoming more accepting to all players and working more on team chemistry,” Cross said in an online interview. “When you look at our team, there are not cliques and you honestly cannot tell who belongs in each class which is something that we take pride in.”
Cross and the team are all on the same page as for what they want for the season. With hard work and dedication they have been putting in the are ready for the season to start with the NAC championship in sight.
“Any team hopes to make it to the conference championship but seeing the women’s soccer team do it and win has really inspired the lacrosse team,” said Lebel. This has driven the team to to give any team a run for their money.
While they struggle with snow on the ground, the team is able to make accommodations by practicing inside as well as traveling to Thomas to play on their turf. Since there are many other sports during the spring, the women’s lacrosse team has to be very flexible with sharing time inside the gym, such as practicing at 6 a.m. in the morning. “The girls have a great attitude about it and after a little while it’s just routine to them,” said Lebel.
The lacrosse team is built up of strong hard workers and as the season goes on Lebel is excited to see how the team will unravel and progress.