Women's Lacrosse Practice Resumes in Happy Valley
Sept. 15, 2011
By Cassie Speno, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
"Fall is going to be really interesting this year," said head coach Missy Doherty. "We graduated a lot of leadership. Fall ball is a great time to discover new leaders whether they are coming from any class. Returning players need to assume impact-playing rolls. We need young players to step in and possibly start right away. So fall ball is a good time to see that and push players in rolls maybe there not as comfortable with but we need for our team right now."
Senior captain and Big Ten Goalie of the Year, Dana Cahill says the team is excited and ready for the challenge.
"Going into fall ball I think the team's goals are to build a strong team chemistry and learn more about the different styles of play that people bring to the team," said Cahill. "We are looking forward to working hard this fall season. When we play teams we need to look at what we are doing well as well as what we need work on, so we can fix them before the season starts. As a team we want to push each other in practice. We want to show people that we are ready."
The Nittany Lions practice four days a week, with one day being a scrimmage day and will participate in four weekend competitions.
"October 1 we have our alumni game at Penn State, which is always a great weekend," said Doherty. "The next day we will travel to play at Maryland. October 16th we have a tournament in Virginia that benefits Parkinson's disease. The men's team will also be participating in this tournament. Then the final competition will be at JMU on Oct 22nd. It's a good mix of really tough competition. Last fall I thought we could have challenged ourselves more, so this year we are playing some really tough teams."
The team who already ran one of their run tests a few weeks ago, proved how hard they had been working all summer and came back stronger and faster than ever.
"The girls came back in awesome shape," said Doherty. "We had our first conditioning test and it was one of the more fit teams I have worked with. They really worked hard over the summer to give themselves a head start as far as conditioning goes. Now, thankfully from that we can move on and go into more of the team building concepts."
During practices the coaching staff mixes conditioning into drills, but is careful to not go overboard in the off-season resulting in any injuries.
"We are running sport, they picked lacrosse so they know its running," said Doherty. "We want to keep the girls healthy and keep a good balance of keeping them fit, but not going overboard and hurting them."
The practices this week have focused on team concepts and individual skills that the Lions don't get the opportunity to focus on as much during the season. Going into her fourth year of fall ball, goalie Dana Cahill knows how important it is to work hard during the off season.
"Since this is my fourth year of fall ball, it is easier to know what to expect and how hard you have to work during this time to prepare for the season in the spring," said Cahill. "Fall ball is a great time to work on improving your individual game so that by the time February comes around, you do not have to work as much on the little parts, instead you can focus on the big picture...the season that is ahead."
The Penn State Nittany Lions after just a week of practice are already making improvements individually and handling challenges together as a team.
"They are responding really well so far," said Doherty. "I have already seen some players really make an effort to improve their game more than they would have before. We need them to assume roles that they may not be as comfortable with, but we need for our team right now. It is off to a great start, I think the team has been really positive and working hard."
The Nittany Lions will begin their fall action when they take on their fellow alumnae at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 1.