WLAX: Season starts vs. Penn

Allison Venella

It has been a long offseason for the women’s lacrosse team, but this past Saturday, on a bitter-cold winter day, the team returned to action to start off the ’07 season in a scrimmage against the University of Pennsylvania.

Penn, ranked among the Top-20 teams in the nation this preseason, proved to be a tough opponent for the ‘Cats in their first scrimmage, one that would challenge and improve the strength of their game. Although Villanova lost the scrimmage to the Quakers, there was a lot to be learned from playing in such a competitive atmosphere.

“It was a great first opportunity to play against players other than ourselves,” junior Laura Garrett said. “We walked away from the game feeling confident that over the next two weeks we know exactly what to work on to prepare for our first game.”

During this past offseason, the team added many players to its lacrosse family. The team welcomed new Assistant Coach Kate Henwood. Henwood comes to the team after being a stand-out player from Philadelphia while enjoying a solid career at La Salle University. She has provided an immediate impact with an upbeat energy that stems from her vast knowledge of the sport. Henwood has been working specifically with the defense to improve the strength of their plays and formations in protecting the net.

The team has also added a new strength and conditioning coach, Hunter Treuchet, who worked with the players to prepare them physically with lifting and running during the offseason to improve their strength and agility. As a result of Treuchet’s work, the team is both physically and mentally prepared for the long season ahead.

The Wildcats are a young team but look to learn from last season and rely on the upperclassmen to step up with their Division I playing experience. The ‘Cats welcome 10 new freshmen, who look to gain experience this season, as well as provide the team with speed and hustle on the field. The team will depend on leadership from its three seniors: Jessica Brozena, Christina Bahrs and Marissa Lucy. With such a young team and with a small senior class, the juniors and sophomores will be asked to step up both on and off the field.

With such a cold winter, the team has been stuck practicing mostly indoors and looks forward to the warm spring weather.

“The weather has unfortunately kept us indoors for the majority of the preseason so far,” Garrett said. “We look forward to playing full-field outside in the coming weeks to better prepare for our season.”

After falling in its first scrimmage, the team is already back to work on fine-tuning their defensive and offensive strategies to prepare for the games ahead. The ‘Cats home opener is Saturday Feb. 24 at 11:30 a.m. when they take on Fairfield University.