Women’s lacrosse captain and midfielder Taylor Fragapane ’09 might not have played lacrosse her whole life, but she knows what it’s like to step up in the face of doubters. Consider the fact that the soccer player turned laxer took up the sport in 8th grade after her friends convinced her to play. With no room left on her friends’ team, she was forced to join another club. Not a problem. Her team went undefeated, even against her friends.
Now, Fragapane plans to tap into the same drive to succeed and beat the odds as she and the rest of the Bulldogs look to turn their season around. Midway through the season, the Elis (2-6, 0-2 Ivy) certainly have their work cut out for them. But Fragapane is confident that her team can rally.
The captain took a few minutes out of her day to reflect on her time at Yale and her love for lacrosse, as well as offer a preview of what’s in store for the second half of the season.
QWith eight games down and eight left to go, what is your general assessment of how the first half of the season has gone?
AI think it’s pretty safe to say that the first half of the season has been a little disappointing. However, we have also seen steady improvement throughout the season and it really looks like were heading in the right direction.
QWhat will you look to do differently in the second half of the season?
AWe are looking to improve for the second half of the season, but where we have started to make strides is in our offense. We have struggled to get into a rhythm offensively and we have not done a great job of capitalizing on the opportunities that we create. We have a few new faces in on the offensive end and people are definitely starting to step up their game, so it is only a matter of time before everything starts to click.
QOver spring break you and the team were here at Yale, aside from your two road trips. What was Spring Break life for the team when you weren’t on the field?
ASpring break is always a great chance for the team to spend a lot of time together. Obviously, we spend countless hours on the field or in team meetings together, but that still never seems to be enough! We have team dinners prepared for us almost every night by local parents or parents who live around our away games, and even when meals are not prepared for us, we still find ourselves eating together!
QThis is a pretty young team, with both players and coaches relatively new to the team. How have age and experience factored into your season this year?
AWe do have a very young team and so people have been forced to step up relatively quickly and take on responsibilities that are normally asked of an upperclassman. Although this may not be fair to the players, we do not have any other options at this point. As to be expected, nerves run high and unforced turnovers are made. This can certainly have an affect on the outcome of a game. However, these players are gaining valuable game experience which will help them immensely in future seasons.
QWhat are some of the benefits and drawbacks to being a captain?
ABeing a captain is first and foremost a great honor, but the position comes with a lot of responsibility, especially in a year where there has been a coaching change. The players look to Jenn [Warden ’09] and me for guidance and support. As the two seniors, we understand that we are constantly under the microscope and how important it is to set a good example for the rest of the team — both on the field in our play and attitudes, and also off the field in general daily activities. We must also act as the intermediary between the coaches and players, and strike a balance between both being the voice of the team, and also supporting the efforts of the coaching staff.
QHow did you get started playing lacrosse?
AI actually started playing lacrosse in my 8th grade year because all my friends were doing it. I was a very committed soccer player up until I tore my ACL my sophomore year. I was growing very tired of driving an hour every day to and from my club soccer practices, and spending every weekend in Virginia playing soccer games. My friends were all part of a local lacrosse club team in Baltimore, and although there was no room left on their team, I joined another club program which went on to be very successful, winning every game we ever played — including the games against all the teams my friends played for!
QWhen you’re not playing lacrosse, what else do you do?
AI’m always playing lacrosse … seriously. But if I had the time for anything else, I love to travel, play any other sport and just hang out with friends. Pretty standard young adult stuff, I guess!