Spring is a time for things to take root, grow, and be introduced to the greater community. With this in mind, Juniata College's women's lacrosse team begins its first season of NCAA competition on the road this Saturday at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh as they take on the fellow first-year program from Chatham University.
Second-year Juniata coach Naomi Radio is optimistic and hopeful about her first varsity campaign. "The team has really risen to the occasion and is ready to compete at the next level. They have hit the ground running and are moving forward every day in training" says Radio. She adds that her team's "will to compete" and "high expectations" have set the table for a competitive first season.
Those qualities will help the Eagles as they begin play in the competitive Landmark Conference where they will face perennial powers Catholic University of America, University of Scranton, Drew University and Elizabethtown College. Teams from Moravian College, Susquehanna University and Goucher College join the Eagles to round out the field in the Landmark Conference.
Coach Radio will call upon some veteran players to steer her squad into and through the initial NCAA season of play. Returning players from the 2017 club team that should make an immediate impact for the squad are junior midfield player Natalie Gibson (Annapolis, MD / Broadneck) and sophomores Catherine Lanigan (Boonton, NJ / Parsippany) and Mina Wilt (Wells Tannery, PA / Forbes Road). Lanigan will join Gibson in the midfield while Wilt will be charged with organizing the defensive unit for the Eagles.
The attacking group for the Eagles will feature a trio of first year faces in fellow freshmen Lauren Rowe (Selinsgrove, PA / Selinsgrove), Arielle Danchenko (Palm City, FL / South Fork), and Zoe Fishter (Sewickley, PA / Quaker Valley). Juniata's cage will be protected by freshman goalkeeper Isabella Medaris (Monroe, CT / Masulk).
Juniata's scrimmage day this past weekend yielded many positive results for Coach Radio's group. According to Radio; "There were lots of positives….in our ability to compete and keep the outlook and attitudes positive."
Chatham University also brings a new lacrosse program to the 2018 season. Radio sees this as a positive for the development of the sport in Pennsylvania.
Juniata opens their home schedule at Gibbel Stadium on March 10 with a 1:00 tilt against Washington & Jefferson College.