Women's Lacrosse ready for inaugural season

After a year of practice and hard work, the Mercer Women’s Lacrosse Team is ready to take the field against an actual opponent. Throughout the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2014, the team has been recruiting, practicing and preparing for its inaugural season.

The team started with nine players in the fall, but only ended up with six in the spring. Taylor Horner, a sophomore midfielder for the Bears, admits that the team had a hard first year, but she is excited is show off their hard work.

“Last year was rough. We had three girls quit, leaving us with six, but that didn’t stop us. We became well adjusted to the level of intensity that we would be experiencing this year. We conditioned nonstop and practice concepts over and over,” said Horner. “We were becoming mentally and physically prepared. In terms of this year, the returning sophomores and incoming freshman will all experience a certain level of college play together, which we couldn’t really experience without games.”

Even though the team only ended with six members in the spring of 2014, the team now has 25 active members. Even with the 18 new members, the Bears are still extremely underestimated in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The team is unestablished, but Horner genuinely believes that it is prepared to take the competition field for the first time.

“I think we are most looking forward to playing games and competing. We were ranked 7/8 for preseason, but that was expected,” said Horner. “We are a new program, but we have a lot to prove because we have been working so hard. It’ll be nice to see that hard work pay off.”

The Bears’ competition slate consists of 14 games, seven of which will be on Bear Field. Their first seven games are non conference, which will offer them a great deal of experience before they have to take on their opponents in the Atlantic Sun. The Atlantic Sun will be challenging for the team, but Horner believes that they will be able to compete with the best of them.

“Our biggest competition in the Atlantic Sun will definitely be Jacksonville. They are a fast and well established team. It’ll be tough,” said Horner. “Our biggest rival would probably be Kennesaw though, just because of the schools’ history. I also have a friend from high school who plays there who I would love to beat.”

The team has a lot to look forward to this upcoming season, but Horner is most impressed with the amount of improvement she has seen from her teammates thus far.

“We have some great players this year. Both of our goalies, Haleigh and Michelle have showed so much improvement from the beginning of the fall. Our midfielders are fast and they also have crazy good shots along with the attackers. We also have an aggressive defense,” said Horner. “Fiona Stockton, a defender from England, can literally intercept any pass, which is impressive. I swear she has some type of magnet that attracts the ball to her stick. Our biggest asset would be that we are so beyond well conditioned, so even if we can’t keep up with other teams (skill wise), we can outrun them.”

The Bears will begin their inaugural season and their three-game home stretch on Feb. 20 against the Delaware University Hornets. The game will start at 4 p.m., and the team encourages all Mercer students to attend. wlax_B&W