WOMEN'S LACROSSE TEAM BLOG

Inspiration

Coming home from school in early May was a little awkward. Local schools were still in session, the summer season hadn't officially started and summer jobs that have already been secured, like mine for example, didn't start until late June. Luckily for me, I have a sister, Hayley, who was still in high school and had lacrosse games to play. It wasn't until after the third game I saw, that I decided I wanted to help this team. So I emailed the coach, who also happened to be my coach for 4 years, and asked if I could help out.

For a month and a half I attended every practice, game and team activity these girls had. Helping out with practice plans, creating new plays and developing strategies for games. My responsibilities were more than I could have imagined and I loved every minute of it. I have always known that eventually I would want to coach lacrosse, however I never imagined that the first team I helped coach would be as rewarding as coaching this team of girls was. When I was with the team, I wasn't "Hayley's big sister," I was Coach Brooke. They respected my advice and listened when I had something to help them improve.

The end of May is when playoffs started. But my girls were ready. This was only their second year in Division I, however they made it to the championship their first year and I was determined to help them make it again. They were number one in the state of Vermont, however they still had to prove they were the best. This wasn't going to be a free ride and they knew it. They battled back from being down in the quarterfinals, and they barely clung on to their lead as they made it through semi finals. But just like I knew they would, they made it to the championship. However, unlike the fairytale ending I saw perfectly in my mind, finals did not go as planned. The girls played their hearts out, but it wasn't enough. For the third year in a row they ended up with the silver medal.

As I held my sister, I was reminded of how our season came to an end. Like so many of our games we came so close and just missed as the final buzzer sounded. Most of these girls would have another high school season to claim the title they had come so close to for three years, but for the seniors like my sister, this was their last high school game. In this moment, I felt lucky to have another season with my Wheaton Lacrosse team, I felt motivated to do everything in my power to end the next season knowing there is nothing I could have done to change the outcome. I was and am inspired to prove that the Wheaton College Women's Lacrosse team is the best. Coaching these girls was one of the best experiences of my life, and I never thought a group of high school girls could motivate, impact, and inspire me like they did. 

-Brooke Sabol
#22

Motivation

Written by Angela Mallis

Watching the 2015 USWNT win their third World Cup this past month has really lit a spark in me. Unlike lacrosse, which I didn’t start until I was about twelve, soccer has been there for me since I was only four years old. This also happened to be the year the USWNT won the World Cup for the second time boasting a squad with role models like Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, and Abby Wambach. 1999 was a turning point for women and sports, and it gives me chills when I look back at footage and photos of Chastain’s game winning PK against China. The excitement of the game was enough at the time. I didn’t fully understand everything that it takes to be a World Cup champion, but it planted a seed that maybe one day I could be at that level, and it motivated me to strive to be the best I could be. I would try many sports along the way like basketball, tennis, gymnastics, cross country, and lacrosse. Team or individual, these games may differ greatly in tactics, but the games these sports play with our minds stays consistent. No matter the level you’re playing at, or which sports you’re playing, different pieces of this mental game are heightened creating a bump in the road. As Bob Tewksbury or any WWLAX player can tell you it takes a player and team that is confident, united, and gritty to overcome these obstacles. This year’s world cup team has embraced these qualities, and it shows on and off the field. Knowing these new tools about the mental game has given me another thing to look out for while I watch the game. To be able to see these women perform at such a high caliber tactically, physically, and mentally is truly inspiring.

This past weekend I was able to see the 2015 USWNT in the Ticker Tape parade held in New York City in honor or their World Cup victory. According to ESPN this is the first time EVER that an all women’s team has been given this recognition, as typically these parades are only granted to local New York professional teams, which are primarily all male, after winning a championship. For one of the first times I felt completely star-struck. My family teased me because I was acting so giddy screaming the players’ names while they went by on floats. It occurred to me that I felt for these women so strongly because I know the feelings they endure. Although on a much smaller scale, I’ve felt what it feels like to win a NEWMAC championship, but I have also felt what it feels like to come so close, but not quite make it there. These women have been through these same feelings. Though the spring season may seem far off now, it will be here before you know it. Being able to see a program that has gone through many trials and tribulations come out on top of the World has certainly given me motivation for preparation for the up coming season.

My phots from the parade:

Tobin Heath with the thumbs up.

Abby Wambach- enough said.

Megan Rapinoe holds the World Cup trophy with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Coach Jill Ellis.

COACHES VS. CANCER

For those of you who do not know, I have a tattoo. It is a small, subtle V behind my left ear and easily one of the most meaningful things to me. When my grandmother was sick she had given me a necklace that had one of her favorite rings on it. I wore this necklace constantly, I never wanted to take it off because I always wanted to have a piece of her with me.

One day the necklace broke. I was lucky enough to find the ring after retracing my steps. Though I found the necklace, I wanted something to always be there no matter what. The V behind my ear represents Vera, the most amazing woman. She passed away 5 years ago due to breast cancer, but has been with me every day since. Through our team participating in Coaches vs. Cancer, I was able to represent her while doing one of the things I love most, playing lacrosse. 

Coaches vs. Cancer has been incredibly rewarding and has brought our team closer together. Having my own personal experience with seeing my grandmother struggle, I learned that almost everyone has gone through something similar and they have that person they are playing for and pushing that extra inch for to make them proud.
Before every game during the national anthem our team lines up, holding hands and wearing our shooting shirts with the name of the individual they play for on the back. During this time, I look up to the sky knowing that she and everyone else is looking down on us ready to see us battle for the win.


2015 SEASON RECAP

Far more bitter than sweet, but bittersweet nonetheless, is the best way to describe the ending of our season.

Our last game of 2015 had unexpectedly come and gone; the horn blew, time had run out, and at about the 30 yard line of Springfield’s turf, we gathered one last time in a quiet, tearful, huddle, exchanging reassuring hand squeezes and pats on the back with the 20 teammates that have become family. Knowing that this exact team would never step on the field again was and still is a very difficult pill to swallow. The end of the school year and season brings me into an unavoidable nostalgic state where my old, wise self is forced to reflect. And there is no better time than the present (or finals week) to reflect, and to express the impactful and perspective shifting season that our team underwent.

As cliché as it sounds, the 2015 season forced my emotions to fluctuate between some of the highest highs - that I can’t wait to tell my grandchildren about - and some of the lowest lows - that had the potential to create irreparable cracks within our teams foundation. The initial loss to Springfield took us down an unexpected path. Each of us seemed to reach unfamiliar territory, a limbo state, where we questioned our abilities as athletes. Our play only seemed to worsen as we began to be motivated by our fears rather than for our love of the game. And after our third loss, our team had one of two options - to continue to be fueled by fear and fail, or to play fearlessly and as though you have nothing to lose.

Stemming from our new perspective, the phrase “do your job,” became frequently used as a way for us to trust the process and what each individual needs to do in order for us to be a successful, cohesive team.

Despite our lack of hardware, this particular season will forever be etched into my memory. Our 2015 roster truly encompassed what it means to be a part of a team; of something bigger than yourself. The seniors led us through an inevitable, but necessary shift of perspectives, as we were introduced to the values of losing, and how times of struggle ultimately make you stronger. They have each become leaders in their own individual ways and although this season did not result in what we had all strived for, they each successfully lead our team through adversity, and for that, they have succeeded in leaving their jerseys in a better state than they had been given them. The sense of confidence and grit that each of them played with was necessary for our playoff successes and without their leadership, finding a way to overcome the adversity we faced, would have been a difficult task.

We learned the benefits of truly trusting one another, and what it looks like to entirely leave your heart out on the field. I feel so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to compete with this senior class, and to have gained five meaningful friendships. Thank you to the seniors for having the ability to lead, even when the answers may have seemed unclear to you. Thank you for restoring our confidence and for raising the expectations of our play to a whole new level. Thank you for 3 great years of lacrosse.

- Allie Bush

HAVING THE CHANCE

The sting of loss isn’t temporary. It sits in your stomach while you sleep and it beats down your confidence while you compete. The sting of a loss can make your thoughts ugly and your trust in your teammates fleeting. But it hurts more when you did work hard, when you did fight, and when you did believe in the process, because that only leaves, “Maybe we just aren’t good enough.”

After winning 20 consecutive NEWMAC conference games in a row we have fallen to Springfield, MIT, and Wellesley. When I look around the quiet bus as we come off this loss, I can tell that my teammates’ thoughts and emotions are racing. But I feel comfort in knowing that tomorrow, every single one of us will be out on the turf ready to focus and work hard the same way we did during our wins. I know we won't settle for not good enough. Not good enough is the lie that losing told us, and we chose to see it is an opportunity rather than a definition of our worth. This history of Wheaton women’s lacrosse is one of dealing with loss and ultimately overcoming it.

If there is anything I have learned from this incredible group, it’s that it is easy to trust, love, and support your teammates when you win, but it is a test of greatness to fight through the innate negativity that comes with losing; the negativity we want so badly to put on each other so that we don’t have to face it in ourselves. From the day we put on the colors White and Blue, coach Kiablick taught us that it is a test of greatness to hold ourselves accountable. It is a test of greatness to selflessly empower the girl next to us because we do care more about our common goals than our individual successes.

As athletes we know we are never too big, too smart, or too good, to lose. But because we are Wheaton women’s lacrosse, we know that risking that pain is worth having the chance to win again.

- Katherine Kowal

SPRING BREAK

Unlike the usual warm weather approach, our team was lucky enough to spend some of our break in the Berkshires of Massachusetts at Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA.

We woke early Wednesday morning for a large breakfast and team games. Bundled up in snow gear, we played classic camp games; solving human knots, creating a circle of human chairs, and much more! Then took a snowshoe around the pond into the woods! It was beautiful to be in all the snow, quite the workout too!

After a quick lunch, we then worked together to climb the alpine tower. Imagine a large (roughly 30ft high) wooden structure, filled with small rock climbing holds and a large platform on top.  Our team (coaches included!) spent the afternoon, climbing, cheering and stretching comfort zones up the alpine tower.  From personal experience, I can assure you the scene at the top was beautiful.

That afternoon was topped off by some vigorous broomball, a silly auction of pulling random objects together to create something entirely new, dinner and finally a campfire and smores. No camp experience would be complete without campfire stories, which came in plenty as everyone recalled their most embarrassing or goofiest memories to share.

Overall, the trip was an amazing bonding experience. We worked as a unit, helping one another win a game, encourage up the alpine tower, or even find toothpaste.  We were able to connect as a team on an even deeper level, giving us a little extra something to play upon the lacrosse field.  We are even more united and ready for the rest of our season! Who needs warm weather anyways?

Go Lyons!

BACK AT IT

Hi all! It's Melanie Sharick.

We are back in the full swing of preseason here at Wheaton. It is great to be back with the team, and to have everyone together again after a great fall season. We have completed two weeks of preseason, getting better and stronger with each practice and lift, and looking forward to our first official game on February 21st.

We were lucky to meet with Mr. Bob Tewksbury again last week - he helps us to build our mental strength as individuals and as a team. We used our first session to talk about successes and weaknesses from last year, and how to improve upon those. We also worked as a group to determine the core characteristics of Wheaton women's lacrosse: Confident. United. Gritty.

This Sunday we have a full-field scrimmage, which we are certainly looking forward to! The team is excited to get out and test ourselves against another group of players.

During the Big Event Weekend, we brought the You Can Play campaign back to Wheaton. After a two year hiatus, we thought it would be great to have some of the newer athletes sign the pledge. You Can Play is an organization that is dedicated to ensuring respect, equality, and safety for all athletes on and off the field, regardless of sexual orientation. Check out the photos below!


Here are some photos of the team from the past couple of weeks!


The team at the WAM Dodgeball tournament!


Lydia and Angela signed the You Can Play pledge at The Big Event last weekend.


​Jo signed the pledge too!


We were able to get lots of athletes' signatures at The Big Event!


THIRTEENTH ENTRY - #9 Hannah Gasperoni

This winter break I had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda; a truly life changing and eye opening experience. Despite initial protests from my parents, I packed my suitcase and headed to Africa. While in Rwanda our team, (led by the one and only President Hanno), taught entrepreneurial thinking to college students at the Catholic University of Rwanda.

I had the opportunity to meet a group of people that I may well have never interacted with during my time at Wheaton, and we quickly bonded. I also made many new Rwandan friends who were excited to share their culture with me. I have never seen a more beautiful country. (Disclaimer: If you get annoyed when people post a million landscape pictures unfollow me from all social media now!)

I also had the opportunity to interview faculty on public health practices in Rwanda. In particular, I focused on the sexual education curriculum in schools, specifically in regards to HIV/AIDS. I am very interested in this topic and was able to gain a comparative perspective to our practices in the USA. I plan to hopefully pursue public health at the graduate level after I graduate from Wheaton, so this was a fantastic experience!

My time abroad was everything that I had hoped it would be, and I have made many promises to return to Rwanda someday! I also had the unique opportunity to take a class taught by the president of my university. Not to brag but I’ve hugged President Hanno. Ten bucks says you’re super jealous. Now that I’m back I’m busy getting ready for the season ahead. Can’t wait to get back on the turf!

TWELFTH ENTRY - #10 Giovanna Bishop

Hello from the West Coast!!

When ending fall semester I was definitely excited to get home and have some time off from academics and the fast paced East. Being home for the first time since August was going to be amazing, especially for the Holidays, but I also knew that I would be training and putting in hard work before coming back in January to start the 2015 season.

Even though we had 5 juniors abroad this fall, we still dominated. We pushed ourselves at a fast pace during practice, and ended up winning 3 of our 4 games at the fallball tournament hosted by Springfield College. For me it was a fresh start, playing at midfield instead of attack. I never knew how hard it was to be part of our defensive zone, constantly having to adjust my movements to the ball, and really putting the pressure on ball when it was in my domain. All of us worked hard together and proved that even with us missing 5 key players we could still be a fierce and cohesive team.

This break I have really committed myself to getting in shape for the season. I train 2 days a week with a personal trainer, Becca, at PACE gym in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. I also participate in her weekly workout classes 2 days a week and on top of that have been training with ProForce Athletics. I have been really focusing on speed, agility, power and stick work, trying to create a solid foundation for myself heading into our important and exciting season.

Not only have I been training while at home but I have also been enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest, trying to be outside as much as possible, and soaking up the clean water and way better food than Chase Dining Hall food. I've also been waiting tables at an Italian restaurant, and spending some quality time with friends and family.

Yet now as break is almost over, I am ready and confident to go into the spring and kill it on and off the field. Wheaton women's lacrosse is a team to lookout for this season, another NEWMAC win is in our midst and I can't wait to see how the season unfolds.

I hope all my teammates are as pumped as I am for the season, and I know that not only do we work hard , but we play with heart and passion and are always striving to learn from each other and challenge one another everyday.

No Days Off

ELEVENTH ENTRY - #25 Madison Cohen

This past summer was definitely an exciting one. Thanks to the merit scholarship I received from Wheaton, I had the opportunity to experience what it would be like to actually be an orthodontist, rather than just dreaming about it. I worked in an orthodontic office in New London, Conn. called Kozlowski Orthodontics for the first half of the summer. During my time there I learned how to take impressions for retainers, make retainers and mouth guards, take full mouth scans, and I even assisted in a few bondings (application of braces)! My time in the office reassured me that I am on the right career path and dental school will hopefully be in my future!

  

Although my summer was a lot of fun, I was mostly focused on what was to follow in the upcoming semester. I have been living and studying in Auckland, New Zealand since July of this year. Let me start off by emphasizing how much different New Zealand, especially the University of Auckland, is from back home. Everyone is unbelievably nice and friendly (not to undermine the generosity of the people of New England), all aspects of the environment are beautiful and natural, and Auckland is ENORMOUS compared to Norton, Mass. Being in a city, it has been somewhat difficult to find the perfect wall for wall ball, yet I believe I have discovered the ultimate wall to play lacrosse on... The Auckland War Memorial Museum. It gets a bit tricky at times, especially when security starts to chase after me, but I make it work! FOR THE TEAM.

  

Recently, my flatmates and I traveled around the South Island and parts of the North Island on our mid-semester break. The South Island is exactly what you might picture New Zealand to look like. At any moment you are surrounded by breathtaking mountain ranges, with the ocean right on the other side. Our adventures included kayaking with Dolphins in Akaroa, tramping (hiking) around Lake Tekapo, climbing to glacial lakes in Mt. Cook National Park, and sitting on the rocky beaches of Queenstown. And that was just the South Island.

   

 

The North Island has a much more tropical feel... plus endless amounts of cows. We rented another large van and ventured through green hills of the Northlands to various picturesque beaches along the coast. One of our last stops was the Waipoua Forest, which contains the largest trees I have ever seen. It is a sanctuary for kauri trees and is known for having the two largest kauri trees left in NZ. The largest one, Tane Mahuta, is between 1,250 and 2,500 years old and is 45.2 ft in girth and 168 ft tall. The last place we stopped was Piha Beach. In NZ, the beaches look like they go on for miles and many of them have black (purple-ish) sand due to the volcanic influence on the habitat, along with large rocks and cliffs that border them. According to one of the locals, “Piha is the most loved beach in New Zealand,” and is definitely a place I will never forget.

   

By far the best part of my journeys so far was jumping out of an airplane from 12,000 ft in the air above the most beautiful city in New Zealand... Queenstown. Although winning NEWMACs was the most exciting thing that has happened to me in a long time, skydiving might take the cake in the most-exhilarating-moments-in-my-life category. The feeling of getting pushed out of a plane and freefalling towards The Remarkables mountain range was so surreal and unforgettable. Definitely one of my greatest achievements.

 

Overall, I am loving my time here in NZ but I am also missing the team so much! I can’t wait to be back in January and begin the road to NEWMACs yet again! 

Over and out,

Your beloved Kiwi

TENTH ENTRY - #2 ANNA VIRAGH

Thanks to the Davis International Fellows I have been in Cape Town, South Africa for the past two weeks. Officially, I am here conducting research for my thesis on protest art, unofficially I am playing the role of tourist — taking every opportunity to adventure about and taking in all Cape Town has to offer.

Through my research, I have met and talked to some of the most unbelievable people. Artists, curators, gallery owners, and art historians alike make up a fascinating list of characters that play a role in the art community here. I have met people who lived through apartheid and some born after it, all of whom shared with me how art has played a role in their life.

All this work made me anxious for some play.

Because it is winter here (OK OK mid sixties) it has been raining a ton! Last Tuesday was the first completely clear day in about a week, so naturally I had to take advantage. My bunkmate and I decided it was the perfect day to climb Table Mountain, which sits about 3,500 ft. above sea level. The top of the mountain makes a visually appealing “table top” which runs about 2 miles long. It took Libbie and I about an hour to ascend to the top, the entire way my thighs and glutes were screaming, but the views over the city and ocean are unmatched by any other point in Cape Town. The top had lots of rock formations to climb, paths to run along, and wildlife to admire and of course pictures to take (tried my hardest to keep the selfies to a minimum). We watched the most beautiful sunset over the Atlantic Ocean, then took the cable car back down into the city. It has been one of my most memorable afternoons, and I hope to have many more!

Me at the top of Table Mountain (had to wear my Wheaton Lax shirt)

NINTH ENTRY - #28 ANYA SOKOLOVA

I don’t think I’ve processed the fact that I just graduated college. It probably won’t hit me until the fall when all of my friends and teammates go back to Wheaton but my graduating class and I don’t. The past month has gone by so fast. In that time I have been waitressing at the Indian Ridge Country Club in Andover, MA. As much as I love waitressing, my co-workers, and the patrons at the IRCC, I got offered an internship at a fertility clinic. About a month ago I had no plans for post-graduation which made me super anxious because that is the one topic everyone asks about. When we were eating our dinner at Hobson’s Choice, the night before my last lacrosse game ever, I got offered an internship at Valley Andrology Fertility Center in Clovis, California. I thought to myself, WOW this is crazy! I’m going all the way to California. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and it would be crazy for me not to accept the offer. As a neuroscience major I was not expecting to work in a fertility lab since I have been studying how the brain works for the past 4 years. I took a Development Biology class my sophomore year and it was one of my favorite classes that I took at Wheaton. It just goes to show how vast the study of biology is, and how many different connections one can make within the field of biology. Well, here I am, a month later, training at the andrology lab in order to be prepared for my internship. Every day I like it more and more here.

For those of you who are thinking - what is andrology? Andrology is the study of male health and fertility. For my internship, I will be assisting couples in getting pregnant by intra-uterine insemination (IUI), which is a type of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure. More specifically, I will be analyzing the fertility of the males. It is very exciting and super fascinating, especially when you are told that the couple that you helped get pregnant is expecting. One of the most intriguing components of this job is that every other month there is an IVF cycle with roughly fifty patients that are scheduled for a procedure called intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which is different from an IUI. An ICSI is when the sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of an egg under a microscope. There is a picture below to show what an ICSI looks like. It is probably the coolest thing I have ever seen. If and when the embryos fertilize, they are transferred back to the female.

During these two weeks every other month, in addition to my andrology work for IUIs, I also help the lab with their male patients for ICSIs. The hours are grueling, sometimes from 6 AM to 9 PM. Yesterday, I was at the lab for about 15 hours, and the lab director was here for 19. Although my job is exhausting during the IVF cycle, it's incredibly rewarding when I am told that a patient is pregnant. I never thought I would say this, but I would like to thank my coaches for scheduling 6 AM practices because waking up and getting ready for work while the sun is rising does not seem so foreign to me. So far, the real world has been pretty nice to me. Hopefully it stays like this!

XOXO,

Freshman of the real world

EIGHTH ENTRY - #20 MELANIE SHARICK

This past week I worked as a CORE leader at the first-year orientation program on campus. Over the week, I helped incoming students register for classes and facilitated activities to help them meet new people. I had a lot of fun with the other CORE leaders - many of whom I had never met before! It was an exhausting week of days lasting from 8am-12am, but it was fun working with a new group of friends and meeting the next generation of Wheaton students. I also had the chance to get to know many of the incoming lacrosse freshmen! And because I was living at Wheaton, of course I got a little extra practice time on the turf field.

Before I headed to CORE, I spent a week adventuring in Colorado with my friend Kenzie, who is on the basketball team at Wheaton. She lives in Glenwood Springs, so we spent most of our time hiking and exploring the area around Glenwood and Aspen. The craziest part had to be the giant swing that goes over a cliff, of course we went! We also spent some time hiking, camping and rafting in Moab, UT at Arches National Park, which had incredible scenery as well. Can’t wait to go back!

                 

Left: Looking out on the Maroon Bells (notice my shirt).               Right: Glenwood giant cliff swing!!!

Tomorrow, I will start my summer internship with CISA, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, in South Deerfield, MA. I look forward to working with their outreach coordinator and hope to do a project of my own as well!

SEVENTH ENTRY - #17 KATHERINE KOWAL

This summer, I am working in New York City at 85 Broads (now Ellevate Network), which is a global professional women’s network dedicated to the economic engagement of women worldwide. It started as an alumni network for women at Goldman Sachs, but has since expanded and become 34,000 women strong! 

It’s an exciting time for the network because we have just completely rebranded, with our new Chair, Sallie Krawcheck. We launched our new website, ellevatenetwork.com on June 4th. 

Ellevate’s mission is to, “move from advocacy of women to the smart business of real investment in women." The statistics show that when women hold positions in senior management, companies have higher returns, lower volatility, lower risk, more client focus, and more innovation. For these reasons, we have partnered with Pax World Investments to create an index fund called PaxEllevate. The fund comprises of companies that have better-than-average gender diversity in their top ranks. The fund will invest in the 400 top-rated companies in the world for advancing women. It is the first and only of its kind! 

I am having such a great time getting to know the women who I work with at headquarters, and the amazing, driven, and successful women who are members of the network. Many of our members host events that are always inspiring and fun. This has been such a great opportunity for me because I am able to learn from the best and always feel as though I am piece of the change taking place in corporate America. 

Check out our new website!

Here is Sallie explaining the rebrand and the index fund on msnbc's Morning Joe

SIXTH ENTRY - #15 SARAH PURDON

EDITOR'S NOTE: Since Wheaton's last post on this blog, the Lyons went on to defeat Babson College, 8-5, in the NEWMAC championship and won one game in the NCAA Tournament. Now that the team has had some down time from its successful season, we will catch up with the rest of the squad and what they are doing during their summer break.

I am currently working with the Wounded Warrior Project to train service dogs for veterans with PTSD. We train the dogs that have been taken from shelters (most with many behavioral issues) alongside the veterans who are in the process of drug-free psychological treatment. This therapy is done by clinical psychologists who work with these veterans that can no longer take medication for their symptoms due to the detrimental effects it has caused on their bodies. 

Dogs have been known to mirror human behavior in whom they come in contact with. We allow the dog to choose the veteran and they begin their behavioral therapies together. As we train the dog to better the behavior or stresses developed in kennels or elsewhere, the psychologists work with the veterans to better their PTSD symptoms. The veteran can look to the dog, whom is developing its behavioral symptoms, as motivation to better theirs. Likewise as the veterans improve, the dogs tend to mirror their behavior and improve as well. The comfort of the dog serves as pet therapy in which its love and care can provide essential outlets and comfort that is life changing.

I have really enjoyed my time working with the Wounded Warrior Project so far and can't wait to see what else it has in store. Below are photos of two of the dogs I have worked with during the summer.

       

FIFTH ENTRY - #13 MIA CAMBI

For the second consecutive season, Wheaton College (7-0), earned the conference's regular season title and the top overall seed in the championship. The Lyons will host the NEWMAC semifinals and championship on Saturday and Sunday, April 26-27.

We have come a long way as a team since our first game against Salve Regina on March 1st. Finishing our season with two essential wins against Springfield and Smith, we were able to once again clinch the NEWMAC regular season title. Having said that, I would be lying if I said we were satisfied.

As students on the Wheaton campus prepared for Spring Weekend we took this week one day, one practice, one catch at a time to prepare for the ultimate goal of winning a NEWMAC championship. Whether our playbooks were hiding behind our notebooks in class, or we were watching the previous game footage while using the “I’m typing my class notes today” excuse, we dedicated our time to be true student-athletes. The library is never shy of the women’s lacrosse team taking over 7 of the 8 tables in the periodicals. You can only image how many times we are shushed and the amount of eye rolls we see. Whether it’s a 15-page paper due tomorrow or an exam that counts for 30% of your final grade, we always come together at practice and forget about everything else going on in our busy lives.

I believe it goes without being said that teammates support each other through thick and thin. Every one of mine has made a lasting impression on me. A large emphasis with the team these past two weeks has been on family. My teammates are my support system and together we can accomplish anything. Our final game of the regular season was a memorable game because not only did we come off the field with a win, but also our whole team contributed across the field with everyone playing.

We have worked hard on and off the field this year to better ourselves because it is not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters. We have climbed the mountain this far and the summit is just a few feet away. We will hike up the mountain one foot in front of the other, taking one game at a time. The trust we have in one another to catch that pass or step up when someone can’t, will only amount to reaching our ultimate goal. And then, will I truthfully say we are satisfied.

FOURTH ENTRY - #7 HAYLEY BRIGHT

"I have a small favor I was hoping you guys could help with. My mom has started a campaign called Free the Tampons. No joke. It sounds funny but the idea is actually quite powerful. Basically it is her goal to have every bathroom outside the home provide free tampons. When you get to thinking about it, it's actually crazy that they aren't free already!"

This was part of the email our team received this fall from one of our juniors abroad, Anna Viragh. I remember reading this email and chuckling to myself at the name, which was then quickly followed by an unwelcome rush of memories of times when these... supplies... were nowhere to be found when I needed them.

As a team of growing women, when Anna brought this movement to our attention, we thought not only how relatable it was for all of us, but were also quickly reminded of one of the many reasons we all chose Wheaton, to get a good education and make a difference. While the backbone of the Free The Tampons movement - to provide tampons in public restrooms - may seem minimal, it's implications are enormous for women across the country. For this reason, our team with the help and support of Emerson Feminist Perspective House, spearheaded a Wheaton Campaign for Free The Tampons, and now have the honor of hosting Nancy Kramer, this Friday, April 4th in the Woolley Room in Mary Lyon at 4pm to discuss the campaign. We are so excited to be contributing to this movement, and it's safe to say we're all girl-crushing pretty hard on Mrs. Kramer (Sorry, Anna!)... Come listen on Friday and let's get this ball rolling, it's time to Free the Tampons!

HUGE thank you to Sarah Lewis, Brittney Lau, Galina Smith, Sophia Boullier, Katherine Kowal, and Anna for baking these amazing cookies and cupcakes which we were able to sell in Balfour today! All proceeds will be going towards providing feminine products for the local New Hope Shelter.

THIRD ENTRY - #14 KELSEY O'BRIEN

A Win Against Mt. Holyoke to Put the Lyons 1-0 in the NEWMAC:

Saturday was an exciting day for the Wheaton Lyons. We played the Mt. Holyoke Lyons and came out with a big win for the day. As this being our first conference game, we were all incredibly pumped up, and coming off last year's season, Mt. Holyoke was ranked number four in the conference poll so this was a big win for us.  

Starting off in the first half, the game was pretty back and forth between the two teams with an ending score of 4-3, Mount Holyoke Lyons. Coming out in the second half for us though, was a completely different game. We came out on fire and put seven goals on the scoreboard within the first 15 minutes putting the score at 10-4.  The intensity and the lead that we started to build made the team even more pumped up. The excitement and support coming from our team on both the field and the bench was incredible and definitely was apparent in our level of play. We really stepped it up on attack, and senior Leila Mills and sophomore, Brooke Sabol each put up five goals for the Lyons while junior, Melanie Sharick added another three. Allie Bush and Jenna Tewksbury also recorded one each putting the Lyons at 15 for the day and beating Mt. Holyoke 15-8.  Overall, it was a very exciting game and significant win for the Lyons, as it was our first conference game and it puts us at 1-0 in the NEWMAC, beating last year’s NEWMAC second ranked team. We play Amherst next on Wednesday at home on the turf so be sure to come and support!

SECOND ENTRY - #17 KATY KOWAL

Spring Break Training:

As our classmates counted down the days until their departures to Miami, Costa Rica, California and the like, we all offered our smug, sarcastic remarks about staying on campus for spring break training. What our peers didn’t know and what we couldn’t quite admit to ourselves was that we actually loved the prospect of being on an empty campus with nothing to do but play lacrosse and no one to see but the people who accepted our sweat suit wearing, food crazed, sleep obsessed selves.

We quickly fell into a rhythm the first few days of break. Wake up, eat with the team, practice, eat with the team, hang out with teammates, maybe shop with teammates, eat dinner with the team, watch movies with teammates, and inevitably go to sleep with teammates only to wake up and do the same. But by Sunday, we were anticipating a different team activity that Coach had conveniently kept a secret. Sure enough, there we sat parked outside of Haas, waiting to hear what the evening activity would entail. As soon as I saw Hannah Gasperoni running to get her knee brace I knew it could only be one thing: Sky Zone.

Now I want you to picture a large group of competitive college girls exposed to an indoor mecca of trampolines and foam pits. We were in our element. I swear we must have looked like a bunch of puppies seeing snow for the first time. For a full hour we could jump, bounce and dunk to our hearts desire. The other patrons, mostly 8-year-olds with the occasional adult thrill seeker, were clearly intimidated by our energy. Nonetheless, we made friends and managed to leave the place with all of our bones intact.

The next day our thighs would suffer but it made us feel okay about the pizza dinner we inhaled that night. As the week progressed we fell back into our rhythm excitedly awaiting our “big trip” to Connecticut. When Wednesday came along we packed our bags with more sweats, a stack of mid calf socks and maybe a magazine or two. We boarded the bus to Wesleyan and began the mental preparation for two tough games against nationally ranked teams. Although we didn’t come out on top in either of the games, Coach made sure to remind us that we play to get better, we play to make progress, and in those two games, we accomplished those goals. As she would put it, “Yes, we are at the bottom of the mountain, but we are climbing.” This prospect treats any lingering feelings of inadequacy we held onto after the matches and just like that we are thinking about the next game.

After enjoying some good food and free time in North Hampton and making our way back to Wheaton, we all begin to realize that the fantasy world of lacrosse that we are in is escaping us and classes seem closer and closer.  Back on campus those of us who live near by plan to take our single day off at home while the others have no problem spending another night shacked up with teammates. The past week was a blur and an experience us underclassmen will reminisce about until senior year and beyond.

Any normal person would go crazy after spending a solid week forced to be with the same group of people; but we aren’t normal people, we are student-athletes.

FIRST ENTRY - #20 MELANIE SHARICK

My name is Mel Sharick (#20) and I’m a junior attacker on the team, from Amherst, Massachusetts. I am also a Sociology major, and a General Education minor. In addition to lacrosse, I work in the Career Services office as a Career Peer Advisor, where I help students to write and edit their resumes and cover letters (come see me on Monday and Tuesday evenings if you need help!).

After six weeks of preseason, we have just started our regular season with a 13-5 win over Salve Regina. It was a great team win with lots of different players scoring. The game was the first women’s lacrosse game played on our new turf, Nordin Field! Although we loved our grass field, it’s definitely exciting to be playing on turf like every other team in New England.

It was also the first time in my career as a Wheaton player that we’ve had a home opener. How nice to have fans cheering at the first game and a tailgate afterwards with unlimited meatballs and so many cupcakes! Of course it’s also refreshing to play your first game on the same field you’ve been practicing on for 6 weeks.

Although Mother Nature limited our field time during preseason, we were definitely ready to test our skills against another team. After playing against ourselves for so long, we started to know exactly how to defend and beat each other. Of course, now we know what we need to work on in order to keep improving towards our goal of winning the NEWMAC Championship.

Not a bad way to start off the season, but we’re already thinking about our next game tomorrow, at home vs. Roger Williams University. The game starts at 4pm. Then we have a full lacrosse week over spring break, when we head off to Connecticut to face Wesleyan (3/12) and Trinity (3/13), before coming back to Mass to play at Endicott (3/15). 

Check back later for updates on our season and to meet more of my teammates!

Pregame carb load-up at Bertucci’s!

The first of many National Anthem pics!