By Nicole Rodriguez & Jilleen Barrett, Senior Writer & Managing Editor/Features Editor
The Manhattan College’s Women’s lacrosse team has had a season full of strong wins and challenging competitors.
As the team anticipates a strong finish at their last regular season game Sunday, April 24 against Niagara University, senior captains Grace Lipponer and Meghan Rodino are set to wrap up their final season.
Head coach Jenna Dingler reflected on the season so far and what the team was able to learn from both their non conference and conference games.
“We learned a lot from our early non-conference games and we’ve had some good experiences out on the road as well as playing some new non-conference teams,” Dingler said. “It really prepared us well for our conference game, so we felt strongly going into our first conference game – a tough game, a tough loss against Canisius by one.”
Dingler also highlighted the team’s historic win this season against Monmouth.
“It was a big learning experience for us and we were able to capitalize after that at Monmouth for a really big road win, first time beating Monmouth since 1997, so that was a really huge highlight for our team this season,” Dingler said.
This year the team has taken a new approach with their offensive strategy, differing from previous seasons.
“I think that something that’s been different this year is that we are focusing more on freelance, which is basically just not going by player formation, but just kind of working together like sending picks for each other moving around the file from the outside,” Rodino said. “So to meet each other it’s more of just a free flowing movement as opposed to like a standard set play.”
Additionally, the team has worked together tremendously to ensure overall success.
“The offense has been meshing really well together this year,“ Lipponer said. “We definitely try to set each other up for success on the field, just like passing wise and looking out for each other.”
With a strong team spirit at play this year, Lipponer attributes finishing her impressive college career on such a high note to the support of her teammates and coach.
“It was really a great senior year. I couldn’t have done it without all my teammates and coach of course just always supporting me,” said Lipponer. “It’s been a really awesome way to go out and the team together this year too has always been awesome. The chemistry on the field off the field has been great.”
With their time as student athletes coming to a close, Lipponer and Rodino hope to take the skills that they have acquired the past four years beyond the field.
Lipponer, a childhood special education major, noted the similarities between the skills needed in lacrosse and her future career as an educator.
“I think definitely [through] performing under pressure and working with a team I realized what a huge skill that I’ve gained after being a part of this program that I think is really gonna help me succeed in my life as a teacher,,” said Lipponer.
Rodino, a marketing major, similarly recounted her time as a student athlete and the abundance of skills gained which she hopes to carry into the real world.
“In relation to being a student athlete, there’s an abundance of skills that you learn from time management to communication. I think communication is a really, really big one that we learn, just being honest with each other and also on the field you have to use communication 24/7,” said Rodino.
Both Lipponer and Rodino have grown since their freshmen year into their current roles as team captains which has positively influenced and contributed to the team’s family dynamic and successes this season.
“They’ve really stepped up and taken advantage of the fact that they are a solid group of captains and they’ve learned a lot from having a really challenging last two years with competing not only against other teams, but competing against the pandemic,” Dingler said. “I think that they’ve really taken that and attributed those lessons to really wanting to create a more family team culture this fall and that has stemmed so much or translated so much to the success of the spring because of how close the team got in the fall. That really trickled down from the captaincy and from them stepping off and using their experience from the last three years as well on the field to our successes this year.”