Missionaries undefeated in Sweet Onion Shootout

Bailey Arango

Photo Credit : BowmanThe Whitman women’s lacrosse team played host to the annual Sweet Onion Shootout on the weekend of April 10-11 and made the most of their only home games of the season, decimating Lewis and Clark College 20-7 on Saturday and crushing Seattle University 15-4 on Sunday.

The Missionaries dominated play throughout their Saturday match, taking a massive lead into halftime before slowing down their offense and cruising to an easy victory.

Sunday’s contest saw Whitman completely shut down Seattle University early, carrying an 8-0 shutout into halftime, before once again slowing their pace and allowing less experienced players to lead the charge in the second half.

First-year Caroline Carr, who is currently sharing goalie responsibilities with first-year Anna Murveit, said Whitman’s defense has been a large reason for the recent success of a team that entered the season without a goalie.

“We started out a little rough,” Carr said. “Our official goalie is abroad, so [Murveit] and I stepped up. Our defense really stepped up their game too.”

While she and Murveit held their opponents in check all weekend, Carr says that adjusting to a two-goalie system has been a learning process.

“So far we’ve played alternating me and [Murveit] at halftime, but we’re going to start playing on a game-by-game basis from now on. It’s a shame we can’t both play in every game, but it’s really hard to be thrown out in the middle of a game, not to mention the next goalie doesn’t have the time to get warmed up.”

While Carr and Murveit do their part in goal, Carr was quick to clarify that Whitman’s real strength lies in their junior and senior captains.

“We’ve grown a lot as a team this season, but it’s a lot to do with our captains,” Carr said.

Junior Hannah LaCroix, whose athletic play at both ends of the field was emblematic of the Missionaries’ strong weekend, also attributes this season’s success to strong senior leadership.

“The women’s lacrosse team is led this year by the inspirational co-captains Hailey Flanigan, Kati Kallins and Diane Feuillet,” LaCroix said. “And we’ve also had the privilege of learning from a recent Whitman alum, Andrea Seymour ’09, who has stepped in this year as an amazing head coach.”

Feuillet scored four goals on Sunday to lead all scorers before being taken out early in the second half.

Seymour said that Whitman’s weekend blowouts, among the most lopsided contests of the weekend’s 10-team tournament, are indicative of a rapidly improving, well-balanced lacrosse team.

“We have a pretty good range of strength, and pretty good diversity of age,” Seymour said following Sunday’s game. “We have quite a few seniors, but we also have a lot of strength in our younger players, along with a lot of juniors, which hasn’t always been the case in recent years.”

Despite strong showings in their last two tournaments, Seymour said her team still finds itself fighting to stay in post-season contention.

“Only the top four teams in our conference get to play for the conference title,” Seymour said. “There are several teams vying for the fourth spot, and we’re one of them.”

The mood following the tournament’s conclusion was both optimistic and remarkably realistic. Seymour praised her team’s talent while acknowledging the improbability of making the national finals.

“We’re not going to nationals, the way the season has gone, because only the top eight teams in the country are given a spot, to give a sense of how competitive that is, but in years to come, the nationals could be a good goal for us.”

The Missionaries wrap up their season this weekend against the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, both of whom will be playoff-bound. LaCroix hopes to secure a spot for Whitman as well.

“Hopefully these will yield a spot in the league playoffs,” LaCroix said. “But either way, a winning record this season, individual and team drive and loads of fun make this another rocking season.”