Milestone achievements were made on Saturday Apr. 14 at Gaelic Park when women’s lacrosse celebrated their annual Senior Day. Graduating a class of eight seniors, each had the chance to play and partake in one of the Jaspers’ most successful wins this season.
The game, played on a sunny day against the Siena Saints, filled the stands and led the Jaspers to a 17-10 win.
Attacker Sarah Lang and midfielders, Molly Flores and Kara Hodapp were three of the eight seniors that contributed to the game-winning effort, while also securing achievements of their own.
Appearing in 33 games over her four years, Flores notched her first-ever career goal against the Saints and celebrated with a shimmy on the field as La Bamba by Los Lobos played in the back.
“It was awesome…It’s like one of those things that you work hard and you do all the time in practice, but in a game it’s different and it means something. It was very cool and exciting and very fun,” said Flores.
Hodapp, also a second-year captain, scored her career-high 21st goal in the first half of the game.
Of this achievement Hodapp said, “It’s a really cool accomplishment because everyone is a superstar in high school and then you come to college and everybody’s the same level of play, so for you to be able to stand out in a certain way like that is a really good accomplishment.”
When thinking back on the game, both agreed that the day was very memorable and a reminder of how thankful and lucky they feel to be part of their team.
“We always say family on three and yell it on three …” said Hodapp.
This emphasis on family is also shared by the team’s other captain, Sarah Lang. Now a member of the 100-point club, and 19th overall in all time scoring, Lang reflected on her own accomplishments in an interview with GoJaspers.com after the game.
“I couldn’t have gotten here without the help of my teammates. Any milestone that I reach is a milestone for everybody else so I’m just thankful…I wouldn’t want to experience this type of joy and happiness with any other group of girls,” said Lang.
In addition to the achievements of these three seniors, attackers Melissa Vogelgesang and Maddie Regal scored their first goals of the season contributing two of the nine goals scored by seniors in the game.
On the defensive end, Julia LoRusso and Katie Tucker also aided in preventing the Saints from entering the scoring zone. Goalie Liz Pierson saw two saves in the second half of the game.
Of the eight seniors, six are out of state, making it challenging for some families to watch games. However on Senior Day, family and friends were able to witness the hard work of these seniors and take part in a Jasper win.
“It was extremely rewarding to see [my senior teammates’] hard work be put on display in front of all their family and friends,” said Lang.
Coach Katie McConnell also said, “You can’t ask for a better senior day, every senior contributed.”
Although these eight Jaspers are closing out their careers on the field, they encourage the rest of their teammates to keep pushing forward.
“The talent, the potential is there and it just keeps getting better and these underclassmen are going to keep pushing this program in the right direction,” said Hodapp.
Looking back and reflecting on their time, Flores and Hodapp both mention taking away many life lessons from being a student athlete. For Hodapp, the events of Senior Day are the pinnacle of what hard work means. It is also the one word Hodapp used to sum up the culmination of her four years at Manhattan.
“When [the current seniors] came in, [women’s lacrosse] didn’t really stand out and we didn’t have much support, but for the past four years, we have worked really hard to make a name for [the team]… and it was all worth it. Some days are harder than others, but that’s what you’re going to get,” said Hodapp.
As the class of 2018 closes out their careers at Manhattan, they leave a precedent for the rest of their teammates to follow and build off for next season.
“It’s kind of crazy and it’s been a ride, but I don’t regret it for a second,” said Flores.