Remembering 2017; Looking Ahead to 2018

As we plow through the final days of 2017, we asked some of our members to share their favorite things about this past year, and their thoughts about what 2018 might have in store.

      Original photo by John Strohsacker

REMEMBERING 2017:

Ricky Fried, Head Coach, Georgetown University/Team USA

2017… what an amazing summer! Traveling overseas to represent your country is a truly humbling experience. I had the opportunity to do so for the third time since 2009 with incredible coaches, support staff and players; But most of all with incredible people. First, we participated in the quadrennial World Cup, hosted in Guildford, England. It was a tournament of attrition, playing eight games in ten days. The US was able to win gold for the eighth time with a team that was passionate about competing at the highest level while being ambassadors for the game at the same time. The players represented the best in the game, playing for themselves, their teammates, their country, and all of those who had come before them. It was awesome to work with the best coaches and players in the game but it was even more incredible to watch each player put the needs of their teammates ahead of their own for the good of the team! It was an incredible event, but the journey was not over!

For the first time, lacrosse would be represented at the World Games. What the heck are the World Games you might ask? That is the same question I had when USL said we would be participating. The World Games is an Olympic-style event with many different sports trying to reach the Olympic level. It is a stepping stone to get into the Olympic games as IOC members are present watching, evaluating and gauging interest in all the different sports participating. It was an opportunity to bring lacrosse to a non-lacrosse audience. Held in Wroclaw, Poland, the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Japan and Poland played in a four-game tournament over five days. While we were there we lived in dorms with other athletes from other sports and other countries. We attended many different events and participate in the closing ceremonies, making memories that will last a lifetime. All the players represented the game with grace and poise both on and off the field in Poland. Earning the first ever gold medal was icing on the cake, but is was also the first time that one country (USA) would win two World Championships in the same year! I would like to thank US Lacrosse for making this opportunity a reality. Additionally, I would like to thank all those who supported us in so many different ways. I would like to thank the coaches and staff, many who have become my best friends, and finally the biggest thank you goes to all of the players who sacrificed so much and showed what it really means to play for something bigger than yourself.  

Katherine Mills, Head Coach, Post University

One of my best memories of 2017 was getting involved with Team IMPACT. Our team has a new life to it now that Kristine is involved. Watching how this little girl has made our team care and love someone else is truly amazing. We are so very lucky to have Kristine and her family be a part of our team for the next few years! We are excited to have them on the sidelines this spring and continue this journey together!

Kevin Cooke, Head Coach, Mercyhurst College

Having the chance to go back to the place where it all started has been the most rewarding experience in my 20+ years of coaching. Mercyhurst is one of the few places that I have really had the chance to call home. Driving through the main gates of the university and sitting down in the same office that I worked in several years prior, gave me a sense of peace and knowing that I am home! People have asked why I decided to come back to Mercyhurst, and my answer has not wavered – that if you have never gone to school here or worked here, you wouldn’t really understand. This place just feels like home. To put icing on the cake for me as a coach was to have a team that was just so competitive, so eager to return to a championship. A team that was so closely knit and ready to work to put a second ring on their finger and return to the NCAA tournament. I feel blessed to be back at Mercyhurst.

Emily Boerger, Assistant Coach, Merrimack College

A great memory for me in 2017 would have to be what I received in text messages a few nights ago from two of my players. One is a sophomore and one a junior. They both were in the same MIS course (Management Information Systems), a tough class at Merrimack that does not offer a tutor. They have been working really hard in this class and were totally focused. This class was the hardest on their schedule for the fall term. I met with the two players once a week all fall to go through their homework, quizzes and tests with them. 

I received messages from both of them separately sharing with me their grade on their final exam. One received an 84 and the other a 90. Their messages were heart-felt and conveyed how much the guidance really helped them accomplish their goal. The junior stated that she would have not done it without me. Really what they needed to understand is that they had it in them them whole time. I was there just to listen and guide. They are the ones that put in all the work, not me! As coaches we talk a lot about winning and what it takes to do so; time spent in film, practices, scouts, and travel. At the end of the day our job as leaders is to prepare these players for the competition of the real world. How to graduate and make an impact, a change, not just falling in line. To stand out and compete! This is why I love this career so much. Yes, we love the sport and want to compete at a high level but, more importantly It’s just an amazing feeling to know that I have impacted my players more than just in the sport. 

Mary Ann Meltzer, Head Coach at Lawrence Tech University

2017 was great year, both personally and professionally… it started off with my lacrosse season and the things we accomplished both on and off the field as a team. The 2016-2017 squad was the NAIA National Champion runner-up and the WHAC Co-Conference Champion. Featured on the team were the NAIA National Player of the Year, four 1st Team All-Americans, one 2nd Team All-American, the IWLCA NAIA Scholar Athlete of the Year and the NAIA National Coach of the Year. We finished with an 18-2 record. Following LTU’s incredible 2016-2017 campaign, I was named the recipient of the Mary E. and Richard E. Marburger Distinguished Achievement Award – the honor is given annually to the faculty or staff member who brings distinction and notoriety to the university. Another big highlight for me was to see my daughter graduate from high school and to help get her ready for her next chapter at MSU. In August, I turned the Big 50… my best friends, Kelly and Meghan, flew in to surprise me one weekend. My family and friends surprised me with a party with some of my closest friends. I have so many amazing memories from 2017 and as it comes to a close, I am so fortunate and thankful for so much…. my two kids are happy and healthy, I have an amazing family, and an incredible group of friends. I am so fortunate I have a job that I love and that I get to work with a phenomenal group of young women who keep me active and thinking young at heart. As we approach 2018, I hope to experience much of the same from 2017 and so much more for my family, friends and team… love, joy, peace, kindness and patience. In 2018 I am looking forward to seeing my son graduate from MSU in May and watching my daughter continue to grow. I look forward to helping my team accomplish their goals both on and off the field. As for me, my goals are… to be more present, live with intent, love unconditionally, offer my time, be more compassionate, be a better mentor and continue to work out. Bring on 2018!!

Judy Finerghty, Head Coach, Vassar College

One of my favorite ‘lacrosse’ memories this year actually happened during a van ride. It was a chilly night as I was driving, while some of the freshmen were huddled together in the front seats, waiting for the heat to kick on, and telling stories and playfully picking at each other. It was clear that they had reached that pivotal point in their relationships where they recognized and could call each other out on one another’s strengths and weaknesses. They also acknowledged times when it was important to step in and help each other out. These were not all monumental experiences, but many were those little times from which they could still learn, grow, and figure out how to communicate, or stand their ground. It was comical to listen to one player coach another on how to say “no” when others are constantly asking her for favors and rides in her car. Or to hear another, explaining to her teammate the merits of selecting more vegetables and fruit for one’s plate in the dining hall. Most of their stories made us all laugh, but it was also apparent that those types of conversations will serve them well as their friendships evolve, and the subjects become more serious. It is heartwarming to see their connections strengthen, and to know that they will take such good care of each other. After all, it’s the personal relationships that matter most!

 

Rachel Dell, Head Coach, John Carroll University

Other than the great lacrosse season we had at JCU, replacing the picture window in the front of my house is the biggest thing that happened to me in 2017. After four window consultations, I decided on a double casement and picture window combo with 98% UV ray protection. During my two month wait for installation everyone learned about my window project: friends, family, co-workers, coaches who sat next to me at tournaments and recruits’ parents. 2018 will bring two new blue shutters to the front of my house, unofficially making my window the crowning jewel of the street. #adulting

Kate Robinson, Head Coach, University of Chicago

For me, the top lacrosse memory from 2017 is an easy one –  starting a new job! Although leaving my old position was really tough, having the opportunity to start the women’s lacrosse program at the University of Chicago is a memory from this year that tops the rest. I think I can speak for any coach who has/is starting a new program… there are very busy times during this process, but those are outshined by all the new and exciting steps when starting a team. Developing a successful culture, recruiting prospective student-athletes, and growth/learning are just some of the facets that have contributed to this top memory of mine. I am thrilled to start this new program at such an incredible university… here’s to 2018!

Tricia Molfetta, Head Coach, Pace University

2017 has been an outstanding year, both personally and professionally. Here’s a quick breakdown: my team made it to conference playoffs for the first time in over 4 years in May, I moved into a new home in July, got engaged over Labor Day!, and took a new head coaching job in November. A record year! There were highs and lows like any year, but I will mention one rather incredible lesson I learned along the way. As I was transitioning from one job to another, and saying goodbye to one team and getting to know a new one, I had an epiphany. As coaches, we are defined by the 17 or so games we have each season, we answer on a daily basis “Hey, how’s your team doing?” And it’s hard to explain some seasons – a growing year or a few ACL injuries are tough to stomach. And what I realized when I was saying goodbye to my players, is that they didn’t remember the playoffs or big wins that season. They left me little notes in a mason jar and the notes included things like “thank you for believing in me” and “thank you for being someone I could come talk to” or “thank you for changing the way I think about myself.” It was incredibly powerful. I was always told as a young coach they’ll never remember what you say they’ll remember how you make them feel. Well, for me the proof was in the pudding and it made all those tough seasons, hard days where I felt like breaking down (or did some days) all worth it.
So cheers to many great lessons learned, laughs shared, and an overall memorable year. Can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store!

Jane Karger, Head Coach, Drew University

Walking into the Opening Ceremonies at the 2017 FIL Rathbones World Cup is something that I will never forget and is at the top of my “Most Memorable Moments of 2017.” Having the opportunity to walk alongside so many other countries and embrace the pride each one exuded was a feeling that sticks out in my mind. I am extremely grateful for the experience to represent Hong Kong and to stand with all the women who worked incredibly hard to be there. While I struggled to learn how to count to 10 in Cantonese and the words for “Left” and “Right” were a mess until closing ceremonies, my team left me with so many laughs, an appreciation for rice cookers, and pride for another nation that I will carry with me. Thank you Hong Kong, for everything that you gave me in 2017 and for all of the experiences to come in the future!

Matt Grosso, Head Coach, Southwestern University

It can be difficult to pick out a single event to represent a season since so many things happen during a school year. However, for Southwestern in 2017 it would have to be our Senior Day Game against Pacific University. It was the culmination of the first four years of our program’s history against a team that we had played every year, but had never even gotten close to beating previously. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our first class of seniors’ last home game than a come-from-behind victory (with 4 seconds left) in a competitive game against a tough regional opponent for us! The best part of the game was the final play where the ball was touched only by three of our seniors… Kate Davis inbounds to Emma Albin, who assists Kaitlyn Campbell for the game winning goal.

Here is the clip and the play-by-play from Kit McConnico, the voice of the Pirates!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BSjtbwDgVOc/?taken-by=southwesternwlax

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2018:

BJ Lucey, Head Coach, Kean College

2018, A new year, a new position, a new school, a new team, a new division, a new conference, new colleagues, new rivals, new goals and new challenges. In late October, I became the head coach at Kean University after having been a stay at home mom and volunteer at Rutgers University for 3 years. I am excited to be in this new position and back in the game full time. Sometimes the unknown is scary but what this game has taught me is to embrace challenges. A new year means a clean slate, a fresh start. 2018 will be that for me.

Kerrin Maurer, Assistant Coach, Princeton University

I would say that what I’m most excited about in 2018 is how the game is evolving and continuing to spread across the world. There are many positive and exciting changes surrounding our sport both on and off the field that make this a very exciting time!

Emily Boerger, Assistant Coach, Merrimack College

What I am looking forward to in 2018 is family vacation! My wife’s side of the family goes to North Carolina every year and rents this huge house! I am talking aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins… the whole shebang! Due to other activities, I have been unable to attend for the past three years. I have YET to experience this vacation and I think I am literally the only one in the family that hasn’t! 2018 is my year! I am so excited to finally experience this “famous vacation.” All I can say is I am patiently waiting to figure out what the hype is all about.

Brett Allen, Head Coach, Bates College

With the 2018 season right around the corner, I am excited and grateful for a few things: 

1) The opportunity to nurture a new team during the new season

2) The new rule changes and the impact they will have on making the game even more entertaining

3) Warmer weather than last spring (winter)! 

4) Spring trips that will strengthen our team bonds and that will challenge our competitive spirit

5) Competing against some of the best coaching minds in the country 

6) As a fan, finding out what team will be the SURPRISE team of 2018??? 

7) Giving our team the chance to see how adults juggle and balance a family life while also committing so much time to lacrosse 

8) One goal games – both exciting and agonizing at the same time! 

9) Who will be the player(s) that surprise you as a coach?! A returner, a first year or someone returning from injury perhaps? 

10) My support systems – my family (wife and kids, parents and in-laws), friends and followers of our program, and all of my coaching colleagues. 

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