Saturday marked the beginning of the 2019 women’s lacrosse season with a matchup against the Arcadia University Knights at Scotty Wood Stadium. Following a lackluster 2018 season, the Lady Mules stepped onto the field with a chip on their shoulder, eager to make things right, and make a playoff push for the first time since 2017. The season is young, and the ladies got it started on the right foot coming away victorious. They are ready for that success carry over as they embark on a early season road trip to Hilton Head, S.C.
With three weeks of preseason practice under their belts, the Mules were thoroughly prepared to take on the Knights and anxious to show off and execute the game plan that they, Coach Stuckel, and the rest of the coaching staff had been perfecting in those weeks.
The team certainly proved that they were more than ready to begin the season, coming out and scoring the first five goals to grab the early lead. As Arcadia attempted to get back into the game, they simply were unable to slow down the ladies of Muhlenberg. Caroline Dolan ‘19 explained just how the squad was able to come together and get the win, “we went in with a lot of positive energy and intensity and worked as a cohesive unit on the field with everyone putting in the hard work.”
Dolan, a seasoned veteran going into her final year is no stranger to the collegiate game. But for the eight freshmen that have just come on board, the collegiate game is brand new. For Hannah Wolfe ‘22, her first match at the Division-III level brought about mixed emotions. “I was pretty nervous when I first got out on the field, but I knew I was ready. I just had to go out there and play my game and focus on what I could do to help the team win.”
To dispel some of the butterflies that she may have had, the upperclassmen, like Dolan, and the coaching staff were there to provide guidance and mentorship. “During the game my coaches gave me and my teammates a lot of good tips on shooting placement and offensive strategies when we were struggling a bit. It was very helpful and the upperclassmen were very uplifting and encouraging on the field,” said Wolfe.
Next on the schedule for the Mules is a road trip to South Carolina, where they will face opponents in Rensselaer Polytechnic and Hood College. The plan is to have the successes that contributed to their win on Saturday carry over and ultimately lead them to two huge, confidence-boosting road wins. “It always great starting off the season with a win. I think that energy we built up against Arcadia will continue into Hilton Head and push us to play at the same level, if not higher,” Dolan said.
While both Dolan and Wolfe are excited for the first opportunity to play on the road this year, they are both equally enthusiastic about the camaraderie that the trip will build. “Hilton Head is always a great time in terms of team bonding. We spend all of our time together down there and it really allows for us to get to know each other better than we would at school. When we aren’t at practice, we all hang out at the pool or beach, really learning more about each other which then helps us with our chemistry on the field,” Dolan made it clear.
Wolfe spoke for her freshman teammates when she described just how vital such a trip was for cultivating a strong culture. “The trip to Hilton Head is going to be such an important experience and great for team bonding. Constantly hanging out in our villas throughout the week and playing together in the games will really allow us to get to know each other better and build on relationships we already have.”
While everyone is relaxing at home on spring break, the Mules will be on the road taking care of business. Eager to build off their strong showing on opening day, the ladies will continue to give it all got and prove that in 2019 they are the real deal.