Westminster Women’s Lacrosse Program Sees a Bright Future After Ending Its First Season
Team huddle before the first women’s lacrosse home game against Benedictine College. PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTMINSTER COLLEGE ATHLETICS
BY PAIGE TOWNSEND
The women’s lacrosse team closed its first season on Friday night against Missouri Baptist, a game in which team members honored their seniors–Roberta Burns and Bailey Mitchell.
This was the first year for Westminster lacrosse. The women’s team ended its season with a record of zero wins and 8 losses. However, players overcame adversity and laid groundwork for the program.
Because it was the first year of the program, lacrosse entered as a club team, meaning that the NCAA did not regulate it. Also, recruitment was low.
But Kristin Crowley, the head coach for the women’s lacrosse team, said, “We were a unique team this year with girls from all different backgrounds and many not having previous lacrosse experience.”
Crowley came to Westminster as a four-year NCAA Division I athlete.
“Since I began playing sports, I was always interested in coaching,” she said. “Coaching enables me to still be a part of the sport and give back.”
Crowley, also known as Coach K, makes the sport fun for her players.
Nadia Askar, ’19, said: “She’s relatable because she’s close to our age even though she’s still not a peer. She has a lot of experience and a lot to teach us.”
“I thought it would be an interesting and fun new thing to try. Sports have always been a part of my life, so why not add a new one to the list of sports I’ve played?” –Peyton Hall, ’18
Many women joined the team to experience something new.
“I thought it would be an interesting and fun new thing to try,” Peyton Hall, ’18, said. “Sports have always been a part of my life, so why not add a new one to the list of sports I’ve played?”
Hall was the goalie for the team and she plans on returning next year. Even with lack of experience, the team showed major improvements throughout the season.
Askar stated that one of her favorite memories on the team was experiencing the program’s very first game.
“It showed us how hard we needed to work,” she said.
She compared this to one of their last games against Northland College.
“We lost 11-10 in overtime, but that showed us how hard we have worked and what we could accomplish,” she said.
Crowley stated: “Our team has come very far from the first day of practice. I am proud of how far we have come and excited to see what’s in store for us in the future.”
In the future, Crowley said she wishes to bring in competitive freshman classes.
“My plan for bettering the team for next year and in years to come is by challenging the girls more,” she said. “You earn your spot as a starter everyday at practice and having someone to compete against for that position makes for a healthy competitive environment.”
Next year, women’s lacrosse will change from a club team to the first Division III women’s lacrosse team in the state of Missouri. The team will undergo changes with the transition, one being the addition of new rules for the sport.
Crowley states, “Last year, we held fall ball for three months and next year we will have to abide by NCAA rules of only 16 days of contact for practice in our off season.”
However, becoming an NCAA sanctioned sport gives the team an opportunity to have a post season.
“We are thrilled to have our women’s lacrosse program as the newest member of our Blue Jay family.” –Matt Mitchell, senior director of athletic advancement, Westminster College.
Matt Mitchell, senior director of athletic advancement, said, “The move to varsity competition was a simple one, it simply required an application process along with proof of commitment from our student athletes and administration.”
With the transition, Crowley also expects more from her team.
“I will have a bit higher expectations for level of commitment which I am confident they will live up to,” she said.
Mitchell added, “We are thrilled to have our women’s lacrosse program as the newest member of our Blue Jay family.”