Women’s lacrosse heads into final weekend in fifth place

Andy Jobanek

Kie Watanabe, '12, is one of a large class of first-year women's lacrosse players. Before lacrosse moved West as a sport, first-years would often not be very experienced, but almost everyone in this class had played before. Credit: Jacobson
Kie Watanabe, '12, is one of a large class of first-year women's lacrosse players. Before lacrosse moved West as a sport, first-years would often not be very experienced, but almost everyone in this class had played before. Credit: Jacobson

Precariously perched one spot out of qualifying for the league championships at fifth in the Northwest Women’s Lacrosse Association, the Whitman women’s lacrosse team finishes their regular season schedule with two games against the University of Oregon club team and Seattle University on Saturday, April 25.

The top four teams play in the semifinals on Sunday before the championship game later in the same day. Whitman can crack into the top four if they beat Oregon and Seattle and Western Washington loses to Boise State and College of Idaho. Both conditions will be seem unlikely as Oregon hasn’t lost a game yet this season, while the College of Idaho hasn’t won a game.

“It’s not up to us at this point,” said senior co-captain Andrea Seymour of the team’s chances to move up into the top four.
Whitman could have helped their cause if they had beaten the club team from Oregon State University last Saturday, April 18, but Seymour’s absence coupled with other players’ absences hindered Whitman’s chances.

Fifth has been a familiar place for Seymour as Whitman has consistently finished just out of the conference playoffs in each of the previous three years. Before then, Whitman annually finished in the top four, but with a deeper talent pool on the west coast in recent years as the sport itself has moved west, bigger schools have passed Whitman. Currently, the top three of the top four teams in Whitman’s league are big Pac-10 schools and the fourth, Western Washington, has over 15,000 enrolled students.

Stemming from those universities’ size advantage is the larger budgets their schools can provide them. As a result, several of the teams within their league have the money to hire a coach.

Whitman will never be able to compete with that size, but, according to Seymour, this year’s team counters with their intelligence.

“We’ve all played the game before so we’re all really knowledgeable about it,” she said. “We’re pretty cohesive in that way that we all have similar mentalities towards the game and towards being a team.”

Seymour may even fill the team’s need for a coach herself as she will be on campus next year for another job with the college. Assistant Athletic Director Skip Molitor has already talked to her about staying to coach her former team.

As a captain this year, Seymour runs practice, a primary responsibility of a coach, but thinks that an extra person watching from the sideline would be invaluable to the team’s development throughout the season.

“Having someone to be the eyes of the team to gauge more of what the team needs without having to play at the same time would really help the team,” said Seymour.

A donor made a donation to the team to hire a coach before this year, but it was too late in the process for Whitman to hire someone by the time their season started. Seymour, however, says she’d coach the team next year whether the school pays her with this money or not.

Regardless, this year’s team sits poised for another successful finish to their season if not for a place in the conference playoffs.