The Bulldogs are taking a long bus ride down to Washington, D.C. this weekend for their first regulation competition game of their year, a matchup against George Washington.
“This upcoming weekend we just really want to stick to the game plan,” attackman Nicole Daniggelis ’16 said. “Because it is our first game we want to come out strong and keep a high intensity for the full 60 minutes and ultimately have at least one more point than GW when the final whistle blows.”
The Colonials have had a tough start to their season. In their only game thus far, against Johns Hopkins, they endured a 16–3 loss.
Meanwhile, the Elis have gone through preseason workouts and various scrimmages in order to prepare for their season opener. Going into this weekend, the Bulldogs have been focusing on watching film of their competition and combating George Washington’s weaknesses in addition to their own, according to defenseman Victoria Moore ’17.
This is the first time that Yale will face the Colonials in recent years, and the team is taking extra time to prepare. The Elis are departing early Friday morning on a six-hour bus ride to the capital in order to arrive in time to practice on the fields that day. Since not one Bulldog on the lacrosse team has played against the Colonials in her career, it is beneficial for the team to get a chance to familiarize itself with the atmosphere of its playing venue.
“Playing teams we have never played before is really great because we can go into the game without any preconceived notions or worries based on past experience,” captain and attackman Kerri Fleishhacker ’15 said. “I think getting an idea of where we will be playing the day before will make us that much more comfortable in playing our game.”
Although the team has had some trouble with outdoor practice due to the weather conditions, Yale still feels amply prepared for the upcoming contest. In addition to working with sports psychologist Brian Cain to help them shorten their memory of poor performances, the Bulldogs have benefitted from high-energy practices with strong team chemistry, according to players. What is more, the team has a strong foundation from their fall practice schedule, which not only includes playing the game, but also lifting and conditioning during the off-season.
The team is retaining a lot of players from last year’s lineup, leading to experience and maturity on the field according to Daniggelis. Returning players include Daniggelis, Fleishhacker and attackman Erin Magnuson ’15, who were three of the team’s top four scorers last season.
“This year we have an awesome combination of strong upperclassmen leadership and experience, as well as a really talented group of underclassmen,” midfielder Kelly Ann Sherlock ’16 said. “It’s really exciting to have such depth and I think it’s going to make us really successful this year.”
One of the goals for the Elis is to improve upon last season’s 3–4 Ivy finish. With a large junior class and a significant number of freshmen, Yale has a good balance of both experience and fresh talent, which is exciting for the program, Moore said.
One thing that sets this particular squad apart is its receptiveness to change and improvement, according to Fleishhacker.
“We aren’t afraid to admit when we make mistakes and we also aren’t afraid to tell each other when we are doing things both wrong or right,” Fleishhacker said. “Our ability to absorb the feedback given and then work hard to make a change and better ourselves has been key.”
The game against George Washington, the Elis’ first chance at victory, will start at 1 p.m. on Saturday.