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Women's Lacrosse set for Playoffs

Thursday, Apr. 04, 2013

USU women's lacrosse field action

Members of the USU Women's Lacrosse team run drills during practice on the HPER field. (Curtis Ripplinger photo from the USU Statesman Online)

The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman or the Hard News Café or both for inclusion in Utah State Today.

Women’s Lacrosse set for Playoffs

By Sean O'sullivan, in The Utah Statesman, Thursday, April 4, 2031

The average Utah State student might not know how well the women’s lacrosse team is performing this year, but the Aggies have earned recognition for the strides they’ve made in a short timeframe.

“After this weekend we are power-ranked at 21 in the nation, down from 13 because of our loss to the University of Utah,” said coach Travis Barrus, who joined the staff this season.

The national ranking comes just one year removed from a very disappointing first season.

“I started the team last year, so it was kind of a whole building year,” said co-captain and midfielder Madison Bell. “We only had one win last year compared to 6-1 this year.”

This season has been different, and the team knew it from its first game at the start of the season against Utah Valley University.

“Our biggest win was our first one, a close one against UVU,” Bell said.

Caitlin Foster, the other co-captain who anchors the defense, took a leadership role in the UVU game that she never had to before.

“We didn’t have a coach at the time, and I actually stepped up and coached the team,” Foster said. “We lost to UVU last year, but we beat them this year.”

One reason for the quick turnaround in success [is] due to lacrosse being one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. There are players from many states on the team, including Colorado, California and New Jersey.

One other reason is the team’s desire to compete.

“There’s a lot of commitment on the team right now, and that’s what I like,” Barrus said. “It’s tough because of class schedules to get everybody out to practice, but the commitment is there and that’s why we’re so successful, I think.”

And the success has given the team a great attitude and a lot of confidence. Last season’s results are not on the player’s minds anymore.

“I’d say we are doing extremely well, especially with how new our team is,” Bell said. “It’s almost unimaginable how well we’re doing compared to last year.”

The style the Aggies play also helps earn wins. They are able to adapt to the way the other team is playing and take advantage.

“If they give us something on the fast break, we know what to do,” Barrus said. “If they force us to settle, we work the ball around and get shots.”

The Aggies hope this season’s success will help build the team for the future.

“It’s a growing program,” Barrus said. “I really expect us to take it to that next level and get a lot of recruitment and get girls excited about playing next year.”

But the plans for the future aren’t distracting the team from the present. The Aggies have one more regular season game against Denver University, and then they will make their way to the playoffs.

“I’m expecting us to do very well in the playoffs and play in the championship possibly against Utah and hopefully win a championship,” Bell said.

The playoffs are the biggest part of the season, and the whole team is focused on that goal.

“As far as this season goes, we’re heading to the playoffs,” Barrus said. “I think we have some challenges ahead of us, but I think we have a good chance.”

The players hope their success can lead to more fans learning about and becoming interested in lacrosse.

“It’s a really exciting game and it’s super fun to watch,” Foster said. “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”

The team will be having a fundraiser at Fox’s Den Pizza on April 15 to help earn money to get to the playoffs. A certain percentage of the sales for the day go to the team.

“Come get to know lacrosse and come support Utah State,” Bell said.

Twitter: @seansy89

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