In their first year on campus, development is the number one goal of the women’s club lacrosse team. A mix of new and experienced players fill out the club roster in anticipation of their inaugural varsity season next year.
Despite their youth, they have great ambition.
“Within five years, we want to be playing for a conference championship,” head coach Julia Decker said.
Decker, who played lacrosse at the College of Brockport and coached at SUNY Geneseo, Fort Lewis College and Fresno State, is no stranger to the SUNYAC. Returning to New York, she wants to develop the game and help grow it here in Plattsburgh.
“We’ve got lofty goals and a lot of girls that want to dedicate their time and make the sacrifice and we’re going to get there,” Decker said.
Their “development team,” as Decker called it, has about nine students practicing regularly. Their primary goal of the club semester is to sharpen the skills of the experienced players, teach the game to beginners and continue to develop the game in Plattsburgh.
Several players have played collegiate lacrosse elsewhere and hope to continue their playing careers at Plattsburgh State.
“This group of girls are really nice, genuinely respectable and care about each other,” Samantha Ballard, a junior who played at Keene State College, said.
“I hope we can grow as a team and be ready to start our season next year,” Jenna Lazorischak, a junior who played at the College of New Jersey, said.
With many other players new to the sport, the athletes echoed their coach’s message about developing a strong program.
“I want to gain more skills and grow stronger as a player,” Frankie Porcarol, freshman, said about her own goals.
Decker said the task of recruiting stands out as one of her biggest challenges. This spring, two scrimmages are scheduled against Middlebury College’s junior varsity team and one against Clarkson University, but three more could potentially be added to their slate. Their ascension to varsity will bring them a longer, 17-game season.
For Decker, getting recruits to buy into a brand new program and her vision is both a fun and challenging task.
A clinic for high school-aged girls on Feb. 11, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the field house, hosted by Decker, is one way she hopes to recruit local athletes and grow the sport.
As the spring schedule starts, the few athletes practice several nights a week in the cold under the turf lights. Although a small team with all levels of experience, they are a confident group.
“Five years from now, we will be a force to be reckoned with in SUNYAC,” Lazorischak said.
Email Ken Bates at email@example.com