Women’s lacrosse is kicking off their season with the first game of the season on Feb. 27 against Roanoke College. The Marlins ended the 2020 season with a loss to Merchant Marine in a one-goal game before the season was cut short due to COVID. The Marlins seek to improve upon their record of 1-6 for the 2021 season. In the 2020 season, the Marlins saw no conference play.
Since the 2020 season, the Marlins lost key players in then-seniors Avery Frangelli and Tori Manahan. However, they have returning key players in Senior Captain Kayla Gush and Junior Captain Mikayla Callahan (first-year captain). The Marlins are returning goalie Jordan Moilanen and top-5 scorer for the team in Camryn Gavula.
The Marlins are ranked 7 out of 10 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference coaches’ poll. This season, with a small and young group, the Marlins seek to make it into the ODAC tournament. Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Nicole Desalvia, who is entering her second year as head coach, indicated that was the biggest goal for the season. “Last year we didn’t make it to playoffs, last year we didn’t even hit any ODAC games, obviously because of COVID. So to be able to go to the tournament is the goal,” said Desalvia.
Desalvia opened up about the expectations within the team during the altered season to COVID. “This will be a big year for our culture building and how you respond to adversity. My expectations are responding positively to all of the crazy things going on, and carrying that into years where things get ‘easier,” said Desalvia.
Senior Melissa Runo talked about some of the challenges faced with the COVID regulations. “Practice is beat wearing the masks, but we don’t wear them during games which is nice, and then we are just getting tested a lot. We only get to take [the masks] off if we are running sprints and we are all spaced out,” said Runo.
With the first contest being against an ODAC opponent, the game is going to be an important one. “I think if we play well it will be a good competition. The only thing that worries me is like how small our team is because we have minimal subs,” said Runo.
By Nathan Sheirburn