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January 18, 2018carrierweb.png

Women's lacrosse faces big changes

Chris Ferguson, Campus Carrier Sports Editor

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CARRIER FILE PHOTO
The women's lacrosse team practices early last season. The Lady Vikings prepare for their first game on Feb. 13 against Oglethorpe College.

As students settle back into the routine of classes, Berry’s spring sports teams are beginning to kick off their preseasons. Many Vikings teams have seen a smooth transition into their upcoming season, but the same cannot be said about the women’s lacrosse team. They have faced some changes that could have potentially compromised their chances at fielding a team this year. 

The first major change that the Lady Vikings faced arose at the end of last semester, when now-former head coach Shaun Williamson announced his resignation. In his time at Berry, Williamson achieved a 60-52-1 overall record, having coached five Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Regional All-American players and 26 All-Southern Athletic Association players. He also coached the the 2013 Offensive Player of the Year and the 2017 SAA Newcomer of the Year. 

Despite such a large role to fill, former Shorter women’s lacrosse head coach Brittni Dulaney stepped in to fill this crucial position as head coach. Dulaney started the women’s lacrosse program at Shorter University from scratch in 2011. During her seven years there, she was named NWLL Coach of the Year in 2011, as well as Coach of the Year for the Gulf South Conference in 2017.

If this monumental change wasn’t enough for the Lady Vikings, now-former assistant coach Morgan Jackson announced her resignation from the program early last week. In addition to this drastic change in coaching staff, the team only had 9 healthy players on the roster. This would have proven to be problematic because 11 players are required to field a team in women’s lacrosse. 

Things were looking down for the Lady Vikings as the reality of not being able to field a team was setting into their minds. However, four women decided to take a chance on the sport which may very well have saved the fate of the program this year. Three members of the Berry women’s swim team and one former high school soccer player, who now attends Berry, joined the team at the end of last week to add some depth to their roster. 

Senior Jenn Leahy says that the addition of these players will be crucial for their upcoming competitions. 

“I think that the new players will add the encouragement we need to push through the season,” Leahy said. “We now have enough people to field a team and are really relying on each other and our new coach.” 

Leahy said the team will have to rise up to new expectations this year due to the drastic change in the program. 

“We have to adapt to the new coaching style of Coach Dulaney, whether it be new drills, new rules, or new plays,” Leahy said. “We also have to rely on our new players as they have a large impact on our practices and our games. Seeing them try their hardest will only push the returners to work even harder.”

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