There’s nothing quite like a fresh start, and that’s exactly what the Virginia Wesleyan University women’s lacrosse team got with the addition of new head coach Kendyl Clarkson to the ranks. Clarkson came to Virginia Wesleyan from Methodist University after serving a successful four-year term with the Monarchs.
For the new coach, the biggest attraction that Virginia Wesleyan boasted was the people.
“I chose Virginia Wesleyan for many reasons, but the main reason was the people. Whether it was Dr. Miller, Joanne Renn, coaches, players or professors, everyone has such pride and passion for the Marlins,” Clarkson commented. “The Marlin community is filled with great people and even greater competitors. I absolutely loved the competitive nature of the school and athletic department. These are things that I believe make Virginia Wesleyan unique and I am excited to be a part of it.”
When asked about her philosophy with regard to coaching, coach Clarkson responded, “My biggest philosophy is that you should be a good person on and off the field. The girls being close off the field has really helped me come in smoothly.”
For the time being at least, Clarkson is having the team go back to basics in preparation for the spring season.
“Right now, in fall ball, we’re just focusing on fundamentals and playing lacrosse,” Clarkson said, “but I’d like to see us make the ODAC tournament again in the spring.”
The past couple season have been tough for the Marlins with losing seasons (4-13 in 2016 and 3-13 in 2017) and morale dropping. The introduction of Kendyl Clarkson, who enjoyed success at Methodist by achieving 10-5 and 8-8 records in the same seasons, is expected to lift the team and help them achieve in the coming years.
Meghan Schallock is looking forward to the coaching change as she enters her senior season. “She’s [Coach Clarkson] been allowing us to just go out there and play the game we all love every day and making in fun in the process!” Schallock said.
“The last time Wesleyan made the ODAC tournament was three years ago, when our seniors were freshmen. I’d like to see those seniors make it again,” Clarkson said. “I’d like to go above 0.500 in season and in ODAC, we need to make a statement.”
Clarkson was so popular with the team at Methodist, that in her transition to Wesleyan, she managed to have two players follow her: sophomore defender Tori Manahan and junior attacker Renee Burt.
“I think the biggest thing about those players coming on with us is that it helps give us more depth and having girls come with me helped the Marlin women get to know me better and get comfortable with me as a coach,” Clarkson said.
With both squad depth and player morale on the rise as a result of Clarkson’s new regime, the Marlins are looking forward to a season that looks to be filled with success. The girls’ first game is at home on Saturday, March 17. They will face Hollins University, a team that has gone 0-14 overall in 2016 and 1-9 in 2017.
“The Marlin community is filled with great people and even greater competitors. I absolutely loved the competitive nature of the school and athletic department. These are things that I believe make Virginia Wesleyan unique and I am excited to be a part of it.
“We’re definitely going to have a good year,” the coach finished.