By: Collin Frazier
With the women’s lacrosse preseason polls for the G-MAC being posted, the Lady Oilers find themselves in a familiar rank; the very top. Coming off of a G-MAC Tournament Championship last year, the Lady Oilers are ranked #1 alongside Tiffin, with a total of 23 points in the poll, including 3 first-place votes. Interim Head Coach, Allison Kelly, is excited but knows they have to get results to back up the ranking.
“It [being ranked number 1] feels really good. I honestly didn’t have super high expectations just because with a coaching change after a really good year, there can be votes that go the opposite way of what you might think as the reigning champions,” said Kelly. “But it was really exciting. The girls are really excited. We tied with Tiffin, and I think it’s a big deal as far as competitiveness. I think Tiffin has a great program, [and] they challenge us every year, and I think that’s really fun for the girls. It’s a big rivalry. I think some of the girls were excited to be number one, some of them were upset that we tied for first.”
Kelly, starting her first year as Findlay’s Interim Head Coach, has also enjoyed her position here, saying it has helped her grow.
“It’s been a lot of work, but also a lot of learning for me. [I’ve been] learning a different role with the team,” Kelly commented. “[It] has been really fun [with the team], because I already know most of the girls, but also really challenging because I’m trying to learn new things and implement new things that are different than what they’re used to, but it’s been going really well. I have a lot of support behind me and the girls have been working really hard.”
As the season continues, the team has been growing together, something that Sophomore Midfielder, Mackenzie Cole said is much different than last year.
“I think this year, it [the team chemistry] has been significantly better than it was last year. Last year, it was tough,” Cole commented. “We had team interventions and meetings to get the chemistry back up, but this year we’re doing a lot better.”
Kelly then went further into how the athletes have been growing as a team.
“I think the team has grown a lot closer. One of the things I’ve been trying to implement is more of a ‘celebrate everyone, all the time’ type of mentality because we’re doing good things every day,” stated Kelly. “It’s not just they’re working really hard, but we’re working really hard and getting better every day. I think the team’s really grown in enthusiasm and [an] excited way that [has] shown them that they have this privilege to play lacrosse every day, and not everybody gets that, and I think we’re not taking it for granted every day.”
Cole says that this growth comes from Kelly’s mentality.
“I think she’s [Kelly] really good at keeping everyone positive. It’s overall more positive than it has been in the past,” said Cole
Even with this great accomplishment, some may say there is now pressure on the team to live up to this expectation. Kelly is making sure the athletes are ready for the challenge.
“We [the team] have been talking a lot about how it’s not a given that we will win just because we know that there’s good competition in our conference and we did lose a lot of our starters last year and the team recognizes that. But at the same time, we recognize that we can fill that and that they can rise up to it and that they only set their own limits, as far as what they can do this season,” Kelly said. “If they believe that they can win another conference championship, then we’ll get there. We just need to take it one game at a time. But it is a lot of pressure, and we’re gonna start with the out-of-conference games that will really, really challenge us. I think they’re really excited about it [being ranked 1], but at the same time, we’re humbled by it, and we take it step-by-step.”
The Women’s Lacrosse team begins their 2020 season Feb. 16, when they host Edinboro University at 12:00 PM.